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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:36 pm

CHAPTER INDEX

- 1997-2001: AXL'S STALKER
- 1997: SLASH WANTS TO PUT TOGETHER A BAND OF FORMER GN'R MEMBERS
- FORMER BAND MEMBERS' VIEW ON AXL CONTINUING WITH GUNS N' ROSES
- FEBRUARY 1998: LOOKING FOR A PRODUCER - YOUTH?
- DECEMBER 1997-APRIL 1998: "MORE THAN 1000 REHEARSAL TAPES"
- JANUARY 1998: CHRIS WEBER SUES GUNS N' ROSES
- FEBRUARY 11, 1998: AXL IS ARRESTED IN PHOENIX
- MARCH 1998: JOSH FREESE JOINS THE BAND
- JOSH BEFORE GUNS N' ROSES
- APRIL 1998: TOMMY STINSON JOINS THE BAND
- TOMMY BEFORE GUNS N' ROSES
- APRIL-DECEMBER 1998: SERIOUSLY RECORDING
- MAY 1, 1998: THE RECORDING AGREEMENT IS AMENDED AND AXL RECEIVES AN ADVANCE TO FINISH CHINESE DEMOCRACY
- SEPTEMBER 1998: LOOKING FOR A PRODUCER - SEAN BEAVAN
- OCTOBER 27, 1998: 'WELCOME TO THE VIDEOS' IS RELEASED
- DECEMBER 10, 1998: GEFFEN RECORDS IS MERGED WITH INTERCSOPE
- JANUARY 1999: SLASH, DUFF AND MATT PLAY TOGETHER AT THE SLAMDANCE FESTIVAL
- 1998-1999: PLANNING A LIVE ALBUM
- 1999- : FORMER BAND MEMBERS ON REUNITING WITH AXL IN GUNS N' ROSES
- JANUARY 1999: RUMOURS ABOUT GUNS HEADLINING SUMMER FESTIVALS OF 1999
- JANUARY-AUGUST 1999: WORKING ON NEW MUSIC
- MAY 1999: GUNS N' ROSES ON THE 'HEAVY METAL F.A.K.K. 2' SOUNDTRACK?
- JUNE 25, 1999: A NEW VERSION OF 'SWEET CHILD' IS FEATURED IN THE 'BIG DADDY' MOVIE
- AUGUST 1999: ROBIN LEAVES THE BAND
- REPLACING ROBIN
- AUGUST-OCTOBER 1999: WORKING ON NEW MUSIC
- NOVEMBER 2, 1999: 'END OF DAYS' SOUNDTRACK WITH 'OH MY GOD'
- NOVEMBER 1999: AXL REEMERGES
- 1999-2000: GARY SUNSHINE, BILLY HOWERDEL AND SEAN PADEN
- NOVEMBER 23, 1999: 'LIVE ERA '87-'93' IS RELEASED


Last edited by Soulmonster on Wed Sep 16, 2020 9:24 am; edited 6 times in total
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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:36 pm

1997-2001
AXL'S STALKER


In November 1997, 39-year Karen Jane McNeil who had been stalking Axl, was sentenced to jail for one year for violating a 1997 court order to stay 300 yards away from Axl's Malibu home [People Magazine, November 29, 1997; MTV News, May 31, 2000]. She had attempted to enter Axl's house on May 16, 1997 [People Magazine, November 29, 1997].

Then, three years later, on May 16, 2000, McNeil visited Axl's home again and was arrested [NME, May 18, 2000]. After discovering that McNeil was trying to enter his property, at around 8 pm, Axl called for the police who came and arrested her outside of his property [NME, May 18, 2000; The Californian, May 18, 2000]. Deputy Boris Nikolof, of LA Country Sheriff Department, confirmed that McNeil was a suspect in several prior stalking cases involving Axl [NME, May 18, 2000].

McNeil's trial was set for June 19, 2000 [MTV News, May 31, 2000]. At the trial, Beta Lebeis would testify that McNeil had visited Axl's property at least six times in the past four years [AP/Santa Cruz Sentinel, June 20, 2000]. It would also be revealed that once she had followed a gardener through the gate and found Axl playing guitar in the kitchen [The Californian, June 21, 2000]. McNeil had told authorities that she believed she was Axl's wife and that they could communicate telepathically [The Californian, June 21, 2000].

In December 2000, it would be reported that McNeil would be facing two misdemeanor charges, for violating a court order and contempt of court, after having sent mail to Axl from prison [Launch, December 11, 2000].

Then on January 8, 2001, McNeil was again arrested for outside Axl's house [Launch, January 10, 2001].

In mid-July Fernando Lebeis would discuss McNeil:

She's a person who needs help. Once she followed the maid and got into the house. She's scary, she thinks Axl communicates with her through letters and, go figure, she thinks he has some love relationship with my mom, which is not ture. But she thinks that if it weren't for my mom, Axl would marry her.
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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:36 pm

1997
SLASH WANTS TO PUT TOGETHER A BAND OF FORMER GN'R MEMBERS


As described in a previous chapter, various band members had played and/or written music with Izzy in 1995-1996, this continued in 1997.

In April it would be rumoured that Izzy had written music with Axl [MTV, April 18, 1997]. The same month Slash would talk about working with Izzy while in Spain (where Slash went to partake in a music video for "Obsession" [The Index Journal, March 26, 1997]), and that he had then involved Duff and Matt. Duff was still in Guns N' Roses at the time, but it would be around the time Matt was leaving the band.

The day before last, me and Izzy worked on two new songs in Spain. We came back with Duff and then got Matt to come in.


In late 1997 it was rumoured that Slash wanted to put together a band of former GN'R members [MTV News, September 29, 1997]. The rumour got wings earlier in September when Slash and Steven joined Gilby's band on stage at Billboard Live in Hollywood for one song [MTV News, September 29, 1997].

In an interview published in December 1997, Slash would say he had been working with both Izzy and Duff recently [Fuzz Magazine, December 1997].
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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:37 pm

FORMER BAND MEMBERS' VIEW ON AXL CONTINUING WITH GUNS N' ROSES


I'm sure whatever [Axl] ends up doing will be brilliant. But it won't sound like what I would consider a fucking hard rock band that's all gritty and shit. But, you know, what do I know? I could be wrong.

[Axl] basically worked me out of the band and Slash out of the band, and now Duff and Matt have left. He wants it to be his band. We wanted a band where we play together.

So I left Axl to do whatever, and he’s still doing it. The rest of us quit, so that’s that. You have to ask him about what the future of the Guns N’ Roses thing is.

So now it’s Axl by himself. He's got a whole new band together. They’re going to do a record. It'll say ‘Guns ‘N Roses’ but it won’t be Guns N’ Roses.

Oh Axl owns everything, it’s his band now, why not… If only he’d release a record, maybe he’ll release a record, but we haven’t heard anything... Maybe one day he won’t have any more money and he’ll have to do something…
Rock & Folk, April 1998; translated from French

What’s left of the band has nothing to do with what we had created. I even think what’s left is not Guns N’ Roses.

But if I were Axl, in no way would I call that band Guns N’ Roses. The kids know GN’R. No need to explain to you, just listen to the albums we recorded. You can’t argue with that. For me, too much discussion would make the music lose its value. The kids have an idea of what that band is. My reaction? I thought, “This is not cool, it’s not the right thing to do.” But it’s none of my business. If he thinks it’s right.…

But [Axl's] got a problem - too many people around him confusing his mind. To be honest, he probably doesn’t live in the same world as you and me.

I hope Axl won’t feel like I let him down. I was just honest. I didn’t wish to go on that way. I don’t think it’s fair for our fans, and it’s certainly not fair for Slash and myself since we were the founders of this band too and contributed to its identity. But life is unfair, so I’m not gonna waste my time complaining.

Fans will be the real test. The group is likely to get away with it if they can go on a big tour, but I’m not even sure the public will come. When Led Zeppelin reformed without their bassist, John Paul Jones, I didn’t go see them. Page & Plant wasn’t Led Zeppelin. In my opinion, John Paul Jones played as big a role as the others and the band without him was worth nothing. I didn’t go see Aerosmith on tour with Jimmy Crespo and Rick Dufay [for the album Rock In A Hard Place]. It wasn’t Aerosmith to me.

I mean, it really isn't part of my life anymore so I don't think about it that much. Of course, it was a huge part of my life. I gotta admit, it was a magical time. [speaking softly] We really were an amazing band. The electricity in the room when we rehearsed was incredible. You could feel it! You can't match what we had. I love a lot of different music, and the guys Axl's got playing now are great guys, I know them all, but it's not Guns. Commercially, I think that's where it's going, that's the reason. What a shame. You and I can talk and remember the Beacon gig, or the Ritz gig, and say it was good. It was amazing, but big business rules all. I have to look at it now with that sort of cold eye. That's what it is and that's the way it's going. I've got to move on and I'm happy the way I am. I am so glad I'm not there. Axl's a good guy, but we tried and it just didn't happen. The timing wasn't right.

I want him to release his own record that shows what he really wanted to do. […] Anyway I want him to finish the album. Then I'll listen to it once and each one of us go on our own way. […] he records a different version of "Appetite for destruction". I want to know what the sounds like.

I don't know why he puts so much effort to renew a huge band from the root. That's our own fault why he needed to renew. Destroying the huge band and disappoint millions of fan breaks my heart. Millions of loyal fans were really counting on us. Actually I've met those fans. Destroying those things and he is thinking to release what he has already done before. I have no idea what Axl wants to do as a musician. Because he has nothing new released for many years.

Let me say like this, each of us had responsibility, and each member was one fifth of the band. I think GN'R has to be those five guys. Axl might not think so, and speaking of Steven, it's obvious that he was not thinking like I was. But Axl was counting on Duff, so was Izzy and me. Now I can picture it, but I don't care and want to talk about it. When we get together, we could create best thing, so we don't care the rest. Each part had strong power, so we might scared that one of us leaves the band. There's no way to play with that live [?], because that was the foundation of GN'R. I guess he might not notice that, cause we didn't hang out with him. He started first to insult me, so I did it back.

I don't want to say anything negative about what AXL is doing with new GN'R. He has his own idea and people would take his work for granted. I think he will make killer thing. Because he is brilliant.

There’s a lot of very loyal fans out there that think Guns is not Guns without the original members that started it and so on and so forth, and I can understand that.

I don’t know if I’ll be comfortable watching the other guys play, you know, Sweet Child O’ Mine. I don’t know how that’s gonna come off. But he seems to know what he’s doing. It’s taken him a while, but I hope it works out for him.

I just wish the fucker would get the fuckin’ record out so I could see why he took something so cool and systematically, destroyed it. I want to hear where he was headed, and what he was trying to communicate that none of us in the band could relate to.

If he puts out a record and it is good, he's gonna be alright. He's very scared about this.

But as hard as it is or as hard as it's been for me to get all my shit together on my own, he's (Axl) going through the same thing, because he's the only remaining member of Guns N' Roses left. So my heart goes out to him, because I know what a tough fucking job it is.

Here’s how I feel: I’m dying to hear anything that Axl will release, these songs which more or less accelerated the split of GN’R. I won’t systematically say anything bad or reject something I wasn’t a part of. […]  I really can’t wait to hear what he has written since we split up. That’s his work, he lives for it and doesn’t do anything else. The other day, I met Izzy at my birthday party and asked him: "So, what’s up with him?". Everybody’s asking themselves the same question. (laughs) None of us has really changed over the years. Except Axl, of course....
Hard Rock (France), October 2000; translated from French

Everybody goes, 'Well, why didn't you take a percentage off the name? Or take part of the name, or whatever.' I'm not going to do a Guns N' Roses band without the band. And Axl wanted to do that. So I was like, 'Go ahead, see ya.' I think it's sort of dumb. I think one of the easier ways of looking at it would have been along the lines of what me and Izzy and Duff did. Obviously, we're not all playing together. Put together another name -- it's gonna draw attention based on the success of Guns anyway. If James Hetfield were to do a solo record, we'd all know about it, regardless of what it was called, it's James from Metallica. If Axl had fucking taken on another name, and just split his way and I went mine and so on and so forth, then Guns would have been sort of like, just, safe. Like Guns N' Roses was always there, and everybody just took off to do this that and the other, but the name wasn't tarnished. Now, the name's fucked up.

I don't pay much attention to all that. I know what some of the new stuff sounds like because of Napster … and [the sound] is exactly where he was headed when I left, which is all well and good, and I'm just glad that he's up and running. It's been like six years since I walked out the door. Just the fact that he's out there doing it is good.

I’ll believe it when I see it, but I’d go and see him if I was around.

I just wanted to see what caused the whole band to break up, see what the reason for all of it was, and now I know exactly what it is - because of the direction Axl really, really wanted to go. We could have never have made it. I'd be dead by now if I was still in the studio.

Axl is making the call for whatever his 3 percent of the band is worth. He's making the call these days. My life was just miserable then. I couldn't deal with it. So I just left. So when he wanted to use the name Guns N' Roses I said sure, I didn't want anything to do with it.


Being asked if he is worried that if the new Guns N’ Roses record is ever released - and if it does well commercially - it will validate all of Axl Rose’s musical ideas and kill the possibility for a reunion of the original GNR lineup?

I would love for the new Guns records to be successful, because it would validate the reason we split up. Everyone knows what I’m doing at this point. Izzy (Stradlin) and Duff (McKagan) and Steven (Adler) have slightly lower profiles, but they’re still around. We’re like the bricklayers. We all kept our original personalities and never went off the deep end, so we couldn’t relate to anything Axl was doing.

I’d like Axl to be successful at whatever it is he was trying to direct us toward. At the time, it was (expletive) frustrating, because I’m not the kind of guy who quits anything, but there was nothing I could (expletive) do about it. Leaving was kind of a relief. Now it’s a dead issue. I’m just waiting to hear what it will sound like, because I’m probably a bigger Guns fan than the average person. I still talk to the other guys (from GNR) all the time, except for Axl. With Axl, the only talking we had to do was through our lawyers to clean up old messes.

I think [quitting Guns N' Roses] was a healthy thing. Because at this point, now I sort of know where Axl was headed. And I’m still searching for, trying to protect, the original thing that that band was about, which was very organic and sort of very human. […] And I don’t think I’ll ever change. I don’t think, if I’d stayed in the band, it’d be even very healthy, anyway.

Well, it's obviously not Guns N' Roses. I think all the fans [know that]. It's not even right that he uses the name, because he's the only guy [left]. I think ultimately it's gonna work against him because people are gonna say fuck you, wanker - that's what they'll call him here, right? 'You fucking wanker, that's not Guns N' Roses!' Hopefully, the maniac's good, cos if the music isn't good then he's gonna get the double-whammy...

I don't even know those guys! I think as well that he should have changed the name. People going to probably say:" What's this stuff? This is not Guns!" Of course Axl was the singer, but it was as well four guys with him. It's strange to see him acting like that, but that doesn't really bother me. We will see how it goes. It is gonna be the fans who are gonna have to decide and to say what they think about it. If we are lucky, he will come up with a good album. I will go and buy it, just to see how it is. I know he is creative, intelligent, he is a good singer, but it took him so long to write and record songs. Yes, I will listen to it and send it back to him if it's crap.
Guitar Part (France), June 2001; translated from French

At this point, it's Axl's bag. I think it would've been cooler had he come up with his own name and left Guns alone. So in case we ever do get back together, the name Guns n' Roses wouldn't be tarnished. […] I'm a huge Axl fan - our musical direction just doesn't see eye to eye. In any case, I do want him to do well with what he's doing. I'm focusing on my own career now, and I don't keep up with what's going on with Guns anymore. It's like divorcing your wife - you're not expected to hang around and look at family photos. But I do run into Guns n' Roses fans on the street all the time. And that is what I miss most about Guns - the fans. They are so genuine! I feel disappointed in the sense that we sort of let them down.

[…] I’m still waiting for the [next] Guns N’ Roses record to come out to see what that was. That’ll be a huge relief for me.

What disturbs me about GN'R returning is that Axl's kept the name at all, when it's basically just him left. I hope they're great, I mean that, but it would be better for all concerned if Axl gave the band a new name.

[Being asked if he hates Axl for what he has done to Guns N' Roses]: Well, I don’t know if I hate Axl ‘cause we’ve done so much together, so, no matter what he does that’s the way he is, and I love him so I accept it. It’s easy to say he’s a moron asshole for doing what he did but I also know that if he didn’t do what he did, ‘cause he wanted to do that so bad, that if he didn’t do it, I don’t  think that we could go on to be as great as we can be.  So, yes it sucks, it’s fucked up, but him personally, he would be more of an asshole if he didn’t do this record, he thought Guns N’ Roses was him, instead of the five of us as a band complete. Obviously, it’s not - you know that John, I know that - but, like, he even got rid of Slash just so he could get totally away from Guns! I just hope he can get that out of his system, and we can fuckin’ rock already!

I hope for his (Axl’s) sake, it fuckin’ rocks, but it’s never gonna be Guns N’ Roses until the five of us are back together, and it would be really cool if everyone who checks this site and reads this let it be known that they, the fans, do want to see us back.

Poor guy, he's on his own. He shut himself off, but that's cool. I guess he's gotta do what he's gotta do.

I'm also interested to hear the new Guns record because so much has gone on since this whole thing started - I know he's got a lot to say. Even a lot of his stage performance is fueled by angst. And it's essential to have that sort of soul and energy for the music to come across as genuine; that's an integral part of rock 'n' roll. But if just depends on how far you want to take it. It's like, if you can get it all out of your system in the two hours you're onstage, great - as long as you're onstage [laughs].

It's not Guns. It's not anything that it started off to be… I could give a shit who's playing. It has nothing to do with me.

I just wish [Axl] would get this Guns N' Roses record done so I can see what this turmoil was all about. What was the point? Realistically, you have a situation where it was all centered around one person; you're going, 'What is it you want to do so bad that you forced everybody out like that?' I just want him to do what it is that makes him happy, because he seems so frustrated.

[referring to the new lineup]: Axl and his merry men.
UPI, November 19, 2002; unknown original source



In September 2001 Slash would state he wasn't happy with Axl continuing with 'Guns N' Roses' at all, and that they might legally contest it:

You know, it pisses me off. What I think he should have done is - I mean, when basically everybody in the original band [left and] it’s depleted... It would have been cooler if he left the name Guns N’ Roses alone. And started up something different, got all these guys, did this thing that he wants to do, which inevitably caused the rest of us to quit... But instead he insisted on keeping the name. And what happened was, the guys in the band said, “If we’re not in the band, what do we need the name Guns N’ Roses for?” And so we very easily said, “Yeah, Axl, take the name. Anything, let’s just get out of our hair,” okay? […] But he chose to do it and we allowed him to do it, which at this point I think it’s come up a few times where we might contest that, because it doesn’t seem... […] People are walking around with new Guns N’ Roses jackets not knowing what Guns N’ Roses is (laughs).

That's actually a topic which we're trying to get to the bottom of. Originally, the other guys in the band gave it up. Now that I know a little bit more about this stuff, I'm trying to look for a loophole [to get some control back].


But later he would dispute having implied suggested he might contest the ownership:

You know, all things considered, how did that [the stories] happen? I’m not really that concerned with that. It’s nothing we all get together and talk about. It’s kind of been blown out of proportion. It goes around. I mean, I see Izzy all the time, I talk to Duff all the time, it's not a concern at this point. Some of that Guns name stuff, it might have come from an interview I gave. They tell me I said something to that effect; I’m like: ‘I did?'


Dizzy would later discuss how the transformation to the touring lineup of 2002 had been a gradual process and that it was still Guns N' Roses:

To me, having been there through the entire thing, it wasn't like Axl said, 'OK, everyone, you're gone and here's a new band and we're Guns N' Roses.' Everyone else from the old band chose to quit, and they quit one at a time, and they were replaced by someone else, so to me it still is Guns N' Roses.


In late 2002, after the disastrous Guns N' Roses tour, Duff would comment:

In all of our best interests, I always thought he should have returned as the Axl Rose Band or something like that. But there are things you just can't change, and so you move on.


Duff is here referring to the fact that he and Slash were still partners in Guns N' Roses Inc. and that they were afraid of damage to the brand name.

As Velvet Revolver was coming together the guys would receive more questions about Guns N' Roses:

It's not Guns N' Roses, you know? [Axl] should have probably done his own solo record. In saying that, also, I do wish him the best. We went through a lot together and I still have a lot of love for the guy. It's a shame that there's a...he's doing a lot to...there's a lot of bitterness... [...] But he's doing what he thinks is the right thing. You can't fault a guy for that, but it's not Guns N' Roses.

Does Paul McCartney go around calling himself 'the Beatles'? [Duff answers no]. There you go.

We got the shitty end of the deal, me, Slash and Duff. We got kinda kicked to the curb, you know? Not that we have anything to prove, but we do.

You know what, man? I’m just waiting for him to come out and do his record. It’ll just be interesting to see what we fucking tore that whole thing apart for. Axl definitely had his own agenda … and still does. But as far as I’m concerned, I’m having a real good time doing what I’m doing. I just want him to be happy too.

And now, Axl is doing his own thing. That's cool. I mean: bitterness has nothing to do with it. Guns N' Roses really ended already in 1991/92.


Duff being asked if he would go see Guns N' Roses if they had a show that day:

Well… [Pauses]… Noooo… I doubt it. No. I – I just, you know, really… especially once after I left and started going to school, I really put it all behind me. I haven’t really thought about it at all until I started doing all this press and been asked about it. So, it’s been kinda put in front of me. And, you know, I have a healthy past with Axl [Rose]. But Guns ‘N Roses was Guns ‘N Roses when it was Guns ‘N Roses. If that makes any sense to you -- does that make any sense to you? [...] Okay… and now, it’s -- from what I understand -- it’s… an ever-evolving line-up. And… it’s, you know, it’s Axl’s… he owns the name. And that’s… that’s where you get the Guns ‘N Roses thing. And that’s about… that’s kinda where it stops, too. You know? For me, at least. I wouldn’t go see it, myself. I hold nothing against Axl, it’s just… I have no interest in seeing it. You know? If you can’t do a record in a year or so…you’re working too hard on something, or something’s not there. Something’s missing. Unless, you know… watch it be just amazing. It should be after 9 years or something. It damn well better be!


And on the absence of Chinese Democracy:

You know, we don’t pay that much attention to it. Slash and I did this promotion tour where we went to Japan and Europe in March and that’s when we started to hear about Axl’s record. That’s the first I’d heard about it. I was going to school and then I moved down here and we just weren’t around anybody then. I guess, with that, I just kind of left it behind when I walked away.

So we went out on this press tour and people asked us, ‘What do you think about Chinese Democracy not coming out?’ We were like, ‘It’s not coming out?!’ (laughs)

Well, it might, but we know how Axl works and nothing’s surprising to us. I hope that guy finds happiness one day but right now, we’re fully focused on (Velvet Revolver).

Guns N' Roses was at one point a great band and I feel bad that it's turning into a bad joke now. I mean, how long has that record been postponed now? How much money has that whole adventure cost?



DISCUSSING THE NEW GUNS N' ROSES MUSIC


I heard some of the stuff off Napster, and of course the song (Oh My God) from the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. Knowing Axl for as long as I have and knowing how brilliant he is, I cringe at some of it. But I’m probably the worst critic. I can still hear that brilliance at times. I’m proud of him. (laughs) And I could have played on that record.

I've heard a couple of things on Napster. […] From the little I heard, I don't believe I can tell [if Axl has taken the new music in the direction he wanted]. I haven't heard enough of the album to get a good representation of the whole record. But it sounded like more in the direction that he described to me. I'm one of the biggest fans of Guns n' Roses. It'll be interesting.

I haven’t heard them yet. I know they played at Rock In Rio, but the only think I saw about them was when I went into a record store and they were playing a video with someone talking, and I recognized Axl. I asked a guy, “What’s that?”. He told me: “It’s Guns N’ Roses in Rio”. He was sort of doing a speech, but I don’t even know what he said. I would like to hear them.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish

[Being asked why the public still care about Axl]: They [the public] feel bad for him, they feel sorry for him like I do. I mean, I love Axl. It's just a shame that he can't, you know, get his head out of his tuckus long enough to realize it was the five of us who made him a star in the first place... He won't put his record out either, cause it'll flop, it'll suck, and it does suck, and then he'll have nothing to back up on.


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:37 pm

FEBRUARY 1998
LOOKING FOR A PRODUCER - YOUTH?


In February 1998, it would be reported that fors producers were considered for the project: Scott Litt (R.E.M.), Steve Lillywhite (U2), Mark Bell (Bjork) and Youth (real name Martin Glover, from the Verve) [Rolling Stone, February 20, 1998]. In February 1998, Bryn Bridenthal would also confirm that Axl was meeting with different producers [MTV News, February 11, 1998]. In April it was reported that Youth had been selected, but again no one would officially confirm this [MTV News, April 21, 1998].

I went to his house and we started writing songs, strumming guitars in the kitchen. That was a major breakthrough because it got him singing again which he hadn't done for a long time.


Youth would later talk about the band rehearsing the old songs for a Greatest Hits package:

When I walked into the studio, they were rehearsing the old songs to record for a greatest hits package. They were gonna do them exactly the same way. So my first project was to sort of dissuade Axl from doing that.


Interestingly, Axl wuold later confirm that the band did re-record almost the entire Appetite for Destruction, but the songs that would be featured on the band's upcoming Greatest Hits record would not contain re-recorded music.

By April 1997, rumours would spread that Youth had indeed been chosen as the producer for the album [Rolling Stone Magazine, September 18, 1998], but according to other sources, things just "didn't work out" [Rolling Stone Magazine, September 18, 1998]. In September, it was again reported that Youth would indeed be producing the music that would come out of the planned September recordings [Muzic.com, September 3, 1998].

Doug Goldstein would later shed light on Youth and GN'R:

Axl tried out Youth; he was great, he just wasn't the guy.


Youth would give his account of the story:

So I said, 'Next time I come over I want to record the songs', and he said, 'You're pushing me too fast'. I had to pull out. Sadly, because I think he's one of the last great showmen of rock, incredibly committed and passionate.


And give his opinion on why the record hadn't been released by July 2001:

Partly perfectionism. But the psychology is that if you have something out you get judged so you want to stay in a place where you don't get judged. Which means it is a good sign that now he's playing live.


Later it would be reported that Youth did "four or five" spells with Guns N' Roses [Q, July 2001].
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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:37 pm

DECEMBER 1997-APRIL 1998
"MORE THAN 1000 REHEARSAL TAPES"


In February 1998, when asked about what the current lineup was, Bryn Bridenthal would only mention Axl and Dizzy, and not confirm that either Matt or Duff was out [MTV News, February 11, 1998]. But then, just some days later, Doug Goldstein would confirm that the lineup was comprised of Axl, Dizzy, Paul and Robin [Rolling Stone, February 20, 1998]. Goldstein would also shed some light on their work process:

They each take a CD home, listen for cool parts, pick them out, and that's how they build songs.


He would also confirm they had recorded more than 300 hours of material [Rolling Stone, February 20, 1998].

In April though, it would be claimed by MTV that they hadn't finished any songs, and that they didn't intend to start recording until the summer [MTV News, April 21, 1998]. That no songs were recorded seems to be contradicted by Moby who knew the project well:

Axl had finished several songs that sounded like rock music with sampling technology and were really good.

They wanted to make a record that involved more contemporary production techniques. At one point Rose told me how much he liked the DJ Shadow record.


A spokesperson said that it was highly unlikely a record would be out this year [MTV News, April 21, 1998]. At the same time, according to Spin, a source would claim that the band has amassed more than 1,000 rehearsal tapes [Spin, April 1998].

It's entirely possible that Guns N' Roses will deliver an album by the end of the year. But I've been saying that for the past three years.


Talking about the slow progress:

Axl is concerned about being relevant.

Axl is really worried about what's gone on musically in the '90s. Most of Use Your Illusion I & II was written while we were on tour. But then when it came time for this record, he had too much time on his hands and started overanalyzing everything and studying bands he heard on the radio and saw on MTV. Truth is, if kids want to buy a techno record, they're not going to buy Guns N’ Roses.

Axl isn’t going to force an album because of commercial pressures. He’ll keep trying different people and things, and when it’s right—however long it takes—he'll be ready to put out a record.

Slash and Axl really thought they could work out their differences. They tried for a couple of years to see if they could agree creatively. Once it became clear that they couldn't, we then had to assemble people who could.


By April is was claimed Geffen had spent "well over $1,000,000" on the project and that the ever-changing release date had "become a running joke at the label" [Spin, April 1998].
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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:38 pm

JANUARY 1998
CHRIS WEBER SUES GUNS N' ROSES


In February 1998 it would be reported that Chris Weber, from Hollywood Rose, was suing Guns N' Roses over royalty disputes for the songs 'Shadow of Your Love' and 'Back Off Bitch.' [Los Angeles Daily News]. According to the suit, Weber had been part of writing these songs and were owed royalties [Los Angeles Daily News]. It would also be reported that Weber had launched court action in 1991 involving three songs that he was credited on, but that these records were sealed [MTV News February 6, 1998].

In 1998, Weber was allegedly thinking about starting Hollywood Rose again [MTV News February 6, 1998]. It would also be said that he had considered releasing Hollywood Rose songs, but that Axl had blocked this [MTV News February 6, 1998].

Doug Goldstein would comment on the suit:

I'm not overly concerned about it. Basically, it's a nuisance lawsuit. I checked with all the clients I represent, and they vehemently deny his (Weber's) writing those two songs. In fact, one of the songs was written before he was even in the band, according to Axl.


Gregory Ehrlich, Weber's publisher, would claim there was video evidence from 1983 of Weber and Axl performing one of the songs together, to which Goldstein would remark:

I've been hearing about that video for four years and have yet to see it.
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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:38 pm

FEBRUARY 11, 1998
AXL IS ARRESTED IN PHOENIX


In the evening of February 10, 1998, Axl was arrested at Phoenix airport for "disorderly conduct" [MTV News, February 11, 1998; Arizona Republic, February 12, 1998].

Rose had been celebrating his 36-year birthday in Phoenix with friends, and got in a fight with security screeners at the security gate at the airport [MTV News, February 11, 1998; Arizona Republic, February 12, 1998]. According to a spokesperson for Axl, "a bubble-wrapped glass gift" that had been in his carry-on baggage, "began to topple to the floor" and when Axl "grabbed the falling gift" he was told to stop which resulted in a squabble [MTV News, February 11, 1998].


Axl mug shot
February 11, 1998


According to sergeant Mike Torres of the Phoenix Police Department, had refused to let airport personnel inspect his carry-on bag, and began shouting obscenities which resulted in his arrest  [MTV News, February 11, 1998].  More specifically, as Axl was told the carry-on had to be hand-checked, he allegedly started swearing, shaking his fist in the person's face, and yelling, "I’ll punch your lights out right here and right now!" [Police Report, February 10, 1998; Arizona Republic, February 12, 1998]. He also allegedly said, "I don’t give a fuck who you are. You are all little people on a power trip"  [Police Report, February 10, 1998; Arizona Republic, February 12, 1998]. When he was told that if he didn't stop his behaviour he would go to jail, Axl allegedly replied, "I don't give a fuck. Just put me in fuckin' jail. You are all a bunch of little people on a power trip!" [Police Report, February 10, 1998].

Bryn Bridenthal would comment on the incident:

[Axl] just wanted them to be careful and he just wanted to protect it. He had just a normal, everyday reaction to it.

His response wasn’t a particularly rock-and-roll response or an unusual reaction.


As the result of the commotion, Axl was charged with one case of a class one misdemeanor, which would merit either a $2,500 fine and/or six months in jail [MTV News, February 11, 1998]. Axl would have to go before the court in ten days for sentencing [MTV News, February 11, 1998]. Court date was later set to January 8, 1999 [MTV News, December 3, 1998] and then postponed to February 5 [MTV News, January 8, 1999]. At the court hearing Axl phoned in a plea of no contest and received a $500 fine and time served (the 2-3 hours Axl spent in jail when arrested) [MTV News, February 19, 1999]. According to sources, Axl decided not to fight the charges to be able to continue the work on the record [MTV News, February 19, 1999].
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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:38 pm

MARCH 1998
JOSH FREESE JOINS THE BAND


In March 1998 it would be reported that Josh Freese had started rehearsing with the band [MTV News, March 5, 1998]. Band management would not confirm this rumour though, saying, "there's nothing we can confirm at this time, hopefully soon, but not now" [MTV News, March 5, 1998].

In 2000, Josh would describe how it happened:

The music business can be a very small community sometimes. I guess my name came up. I thought it was different than a lot of projects I've been involved with. It turned a lot of heads with my friends.


Despite this, a "source close to Josh" would imply that Josh was just in it for the money:

They're paying Josh an obscene amount of money for two days of rehearsal a week. [But] Josh has kind of an 'I don't give a fuck' attitude about it.
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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:39 pm

JOSH BEFORE GUNS N' ROSES


One of Josh's first bands were Polo:

Imagine five dumb young white kids in Orange County California, Star Search Champions in Disneyland. Hence the horrible name Polo. I was about twelve or thirteen, and didn't know any better. I don't want anyone to think that I was an adult, playing Huey Lewis and the News covers at Disneyland.


Josh had played in The Vandals since he was 16 [Cosmik Debris Magazine, November 2000].


The Vandals, Josh to the far left.


And Devo:

Devo for me was like playing with Led Zeppelin or the Beatles. The first record I ever got in my life was a Devo record. Their guitarist produced a Vandals record, and when they kinda reformed, jumping on stage at Lollapalooza, they asked me to drum cuz they had a falling out with the original drummer. It was a blast playing the songs I grew up listening to. They're such bizarre, eccentric, intelligent weirdos.



Josh playing with Devo.
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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:39 pm

APRIL 1998
TOMMY STINSON JOINS THE BAND


The first rumours that Tommy Stinson would be replacing Duff came in April 1998 [MTV News, April 21, 1998; St. Cloud April 30, 1998].

Initially it would be reported that Tommy had been jamming with Guns N' Roses for three night a week for the last three weeks, but that he was not a permanent member of Guns N' Roses [Star Tribune, April 28, 1998]. Peter Jesperson, the head of Tommy's band Perfect's label Medium Cool Records:

This is not a permanent thing. Tommy made it clear from the start that he's got his own band. If Tommy were available, maybe they’d make an offer. It’s like someone asking him to do a session. […] He’s a musician. One day, he rehearsed with Perfect from 4 to 7 and with Guns ’N’ Roses from 10 to 3:30 in the morning. Tommy is working; it’s a joy to see.


In August it would be reported that Tommy was not officially part of Guns N' Roses [City Pages, August 5, 1998].

Later Tommy would say he was offered the job the day after he auditioned [Quad City Times, November 14, 2002].

I was doing a session with a friend of mine who played drums for GN'R at the time, Josh Freese. He was joking about them needing a new bass player. I laughed and said I'd play bass. The next day, they called. I learned about four or five songs. A day or so after the audition, they called and said, 'If you want it, you're in.' And I took it.

I wasn't much of a GN'R fan . . . when I was making [Replacements] records. We were a different breed. But you couldn't help but hear the GN'R stuff on the radio and on MTV every 10 minutes because it was the flavor of the day.


An anonymous source "close to" of Tommy would imply he joined Guns N' Roses because he was broke:

[Tommy] hadn't worked in a long time. Tommy didn't get nickel one from the Replacements. [So] he bought a used copy of Appetite, and learned the bass lines.


Paul Westerberg, Tommy's band mate in The Replacements, would say Tommy did it because he wanted to be a star:

I'm not the least bit surprised. People don't move to Los Angeles to be a musician or a songwriter. They go to be a star. That's what Tommy is doing. ... It's what he's always been groomed for.


Media would also point out that Tommy had previously mocked Axl Rose from stage when he was performing with the Replacements [Detroit Metro Times, August 20, 2003].

But Tommy would state he joined because of the novelty of what Axl's was doing:

When I took this gig, it was for the reason that no one else had — supposedly — ever done this in rock, resumed the band name with the leader and try to do a whole other thing, but still do the same thing. That’s the most interesting concept I can imagine.

All I can to do eliminate that (skepticism) is show up and do my gig. I don't really spend any time worrying about it, or giving it much thought. I’m working with this guy that I like working with, I like the music we’re playing.

I think it's turning out exactly that way. I don’t give a (crap) what people think, as long as they come out to the shows, and they have fun and we have fun.

[...]

I’ve always wanted to do something interesting, whether it was my own stuff or whatever. I’ve done a lot of crazy (stuff) musically over the last 10 years.

If it works out, it could be history making, 'cause no one's ever done this before. A lead singer's never taken the (band) name and continued on with an entirely new band and done that successfully before.

I kinda got into this for exactly that reason; if you're gonna try to do something really whacked, this would be the way to do it. I really don't think about the consequences either way; it's either gonna work or it's not, and in the meantime we're all having a good time trying to make it happen.

At the time, the options I was looking at, I had a few things on my plate. I had a record deal that I was pretty sure I was just about to get f**ked on, and I think at the time I felt ‘of these things I’ve got in front of me, what is the most interesting thing that isn’t going to be on my shoulders necessarily?’ Because, you know, you do your own thing for awhile and you’re carrying all that weight... Sometimes you go, ‘Ah, I can’t do that now. Let’s take a break from that.

Granted, GN’R wasn’t my thing at the time, but it’s been pretty awesome.

I got into Guns 'n' Roses because I looked at Axl and thought, "This guy's the embodiment of punk rock." I've gotten strength from seeing how determined he is. [...] I've always had my instinct for people. I know bullshit when I see it.


And on the longevity of it:

I have no expectations whatsoever. As long as we’re having fun with it and people are having fun seeing it. I think I could be involved for an indefinite amount of time.


Tommy would also specifically address Westerberg:

[Westerberg]'s gone out on a limb to say a bunch of nonsense that's made me look bad, that's made Axl look bad, that's made him [Axl] feel bad... . It's just lame. It's really unnecessary, for one. I don't appreciate it, and Axl doesn't deserve any of it.


Despite apparently working with Guns N' Roses, Tommy still had time for other projects, and on November 14, 1998, he was scheduled to play a show in New York city with his band 'Perfect' [Rolling Stone, November 14, 1998].


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:39 pm

TOMMY BEFORE GUNS N' ROSES


PERSONAL LIFE


Tommy has a daughter, Ruby, who, in 1998, was living with his ex-wife in Minneapolis [The Dallas Observer, May 21, 1998].


THE REPLACEMENTS


Tommy's most famous band before joining Guns N' Roses was 'The Replacements'.

The Dallas Observer would describe the band:

What he was with the Replacements was the bass player, the guitarist's little brother, the teenage freakshow. His brother Bob might have lit fireballs of angst and reckless hilarity onstage, Tommy and drummer Chris Mars might have contributed equally to the band's hedonist legend, but it was singer-guitarist Paul Westerberg's songs of deep romantic yearning and youthful dissatisfaction that made the band's antics ring true. A bunch of drunk guys onstage pinching each other's asses doesn't mean much, but coupled with such songs as "Color Me Impressed" or "Here Comes a Regular" or "Unsatisfied" or dozens of others, the mischief played like passion, like every note might be the last.

As ever, the hard living took its toll. Bob was kicked out in '87 when his bad habits became too much even for his bandmates. Westerberg's marriage eventually fell apart. So did Tommy's. And Westerberg's songs became contemplative, mellow, mature. The band's cult and legend had failed to turn into much commercial success; the broken expectations, the personal conflicts, and the lifestyle itself eventually caused the band to self-destruct in 1991. Tommy had spent his teenage years in a drunken rock cartoon, and, since he hadn't been the songwriter, had few tangibles to show for it--save the stories about stink bombs, trashed Winnebagos, pissing in ice machines, bouncer riots, and chemical intake.


Tommy would himself talk about the reputation they had:

We did all that, no doubt about it. At one point we were actually laughing at the stories we were reading about Guns N' Roses: 'You've got to be kidding! They're writing about this?' We were an emotionally fucked-up bunch of guys. We were a few fries short of a Happy Meal, for sure. But I get really tired of people coming up and going, 'Man, you guys were so great! I saw you when you guys couldn't even stand on stage!' But do you remember any of the songs?


Interestingly, this quote came from an interview published in May 1998, about a month after the first rumours started spreading about Tommy being involved with Guns N' Roses. Curiously the interview doesn't contain questions regarding Tommy and GN'R, but Tommy's reference to GN'R above is unlikely to be entirely coincidental.

And discussing the band:

[...] the Replacements stuff that we did, I'm still proud of. It's all great, fine, good, all that -- but Paul [Westerberg] just wasn't a team player: He wrote the songs, and we played them.



BASH & POP


After The Replacements ended, Tommy travelled up in Los Angeles where he tried to get another band up and running, but it didn't happen [The Dallas Observer, May 21, 1998]. This band was Bash & Pop and they released one record, '93's 'Friday Night is Killing Me' [The Dallas Observer, May 21, 1998].

That record's raw. It's just me and my guitar and my guts basically, and you can hear that. It's crappy in a good way to me. Because I don't mind growing up in public. I've been doing it all my life: OK, here I am, my pants down to my ankles.


The Bash & pop record was a failure and Tommy took a job selling computer supplies over the phone [The Dallas Observer, May 21, 1998]:

For two months I felt like 'worm-boy.' But then I got kind of good at it. As hard as it was getting up at five in the morning to do that gig, it's the best thing that ever happened to me in my life. It made everything make a lot more sense. It was the first job I ever had. It did a lot for me and made me a lot stronger person.

I was great at it. Made more money than I ever had from music.

The Bash & Pop thing would have continued on had I not lost interest in the record company more than the band. It was pretty much my solo project, anyway. I had a couple of guys who played on the record, but most of the instrumentation was just me. But what ended up happening was that I moved out to L.A., and my drummer went back to Minneapolis.

I went broke and had to learn how to support myself without music. I stopped writing music for a while.



THE PERFECT


After almost leaving music for a career in telemarketing, he ended up founded the band 'Perfect' in 1996 [The Dallas Observer, May 21, 1998] which at first was another version of Bash & Pop [The Albany Times, August 21, 2003]. They were about to release their debut album, 'Seven Days a Week', on July 14 when Tommy joined Guns N' Roses [The Dallas Observer, May 21, 1998; LA Weekly, June 18, 1998]. They had also planned a tour with Franck Black [St. Cloud Times, April 30, 1998].

Talking about The Perfect:

I've been doing music since I was 11. What I grew up with, what I turned into, and where my inspirations come from haven't changed. I don't aspire to be a whole lot different from what I am.

I have more invested in the Perfect record than I did in the 'Mats, because I'm writing the songs. I can understand what Paul felt a lot now, freakin' out a lot of the time from having his soul on the line, and having it just come back as a piece of coal.

It turned into much more of a band thing [than Bash & Pop]. [Perfect] was closer to my vision of what I wanted to be doing at that time, rather than being a solo artist or anything like that.


Around this time, early 1998, Tommy would be back focusing 100 % on music again, adding revenues from solo shows [The Dallas Observer, May 21, 1998]:

I haven't been very good at it, but that's sorta why I keep doing it. Damn it, one day I'm going to be all right at it, and it'll be fine. It's a challenge. It's more about the words and emotion. That's a hard bit.


The Perfect would release an EP, When Squirrels Play Chicken, on the label Reckless in 1995 [The Albany Times Union, August 21, 2003].

But after Tommy joining GN'R, both the Perfect album and their planned tour was postponed [St. Cloud Times, April 30, 1998]. Then, in June, it was reported that he struggled to get his label, Restless, to release the record [LA Weekly, June 18, 1998].

That’s just one of those fuckin’ things, and it happens to every other band in LA. We made a record, spent a lot of money doing it and it seemed like the record company was gonna man up and give it a real push. Then, at the last minute, everything fell apart.

Right about that time the GNR offer came up. And I just decided, ‘Fuck it. I’m gonna go play with a band for a while.’ And that’s what I’ve been doing for the last five years.

It really was kind of heartbreaking when it didn’t come out. But only at the time. It’s sort of par for the course in the music industry, there are a million different bands out there who get screwed like that.

That was frustrating, too, because just as we made our record, we were getting screwed by the record company. So that band bit the dust, too. [...] It's always frustrating when that happens. But you know, there are a million and one bands out there doing the same thing -- equally, if not more, talented. Everyone gets screwed at one time or another -- and in some cases, many times. But it's all part of the deal. It's what you sign up for when you play rock 'n' roll.

I think the label got cold feet on how to promote it, and rather than get screwed, I realized the GNR thing was more what I wanted to do — I’d gotten beaten up with record-company bullshit and I just wanted to play in a band and pull myself together.


But in 2003, Restless Records was planning to release the record for 2004 [Detroit Metro Times, August 20, 2003] but later it was stated it would be the Salem-based label Rykodisc that would release the record [The Boston Phoenix, September 5, 2003].


PUFF DADDY AND ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS


Perfect was playing a show in New York, and this guy had seen us play and asked us if we wanted to do a remix with Puff Daddy. I thought he was joking! They sent us the track a couple of weeks later, and most of that track, ‘It’s All About the Benjamins,’ is us. Certainly the chorus is me and [Perfect’s] Marc Solomon singing.


Tommy's remix version of Puff Daddy's song would be featured on the 1997 release It's All About the Benjamins single.


Last edited by Soulmonster on Fri Sep 25, 2020 8:30 am; edited 8 times in total
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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:41 pm

APRIL-DECEMBER 1998
SERIOUSLY RECORDING


After Josh and Tommy joined the band all key positions had again been filled and the lineup was complete. It consisted of Axl, Tommy, Robin, Dizzy and Josh, and possibly Paul. And in early July it would be stated that the band had booked studio time for August [Muzic.com, July 10, 1998]. Later in the same month, it would be reported that the band was indeed recording [Stevens Point Journal, July 11, 1998; MTV News, July 28, 1998] with Tommy and Josh in the fold [Entertainment Weekly, July 31, 1988]. The plan was to release the record in 1999 [MTV News, July 28, 1998].


Tommy and Josh in the studio
1998


An anonymous person from "Rose's camp" would state:

I think this news will put to rest any rumors that Axl has joined the witness protection program.


The recording caused some scheduling conflicts for the highly sought-after session drummer Josh:

As soon as I discovered the studio time would conflict with the Vandals tour. I told the other band members [of the Vandals] they should find a replacement. It was a hard decision, but I figured it would be better than canceling the tour altogether.


But in early September, it would be claimed the band hadn't done any recording yet, but was scheduled to go in later in the month [Muzic.com, September 3, 1998].

In September 1998, the remixer/engineer Critter was said to be working with the band on recording and programming [Rolling Stone Magazine, September 18, 1998], and the band was said to be hoping for a mid-1999 release [Rolling Stone Magazine, September 18, 1998].

In October 1998, a spokesperson at Geffen Record would say that the band hoped to have a record out by 1999 [MTV News, October 21, 1998].

Although Guns N' Roses was quickly becoming less and less relevant to the music scene, Axl still had his fans:

I know Axl pretty well, which basically means I don’t understand him at all. I just don’t get it. Guns N’ Roses is the last great hope for hard rock. If they got back together and made a straight rock record, it would sell 15 million copies.

I mean I can't wait for him to make a record, and come back, and I think Axl is great. I know I'm very much of the minority, but I think Axl is great. I think he's gonna make a great record, whatever decade it ends up being, and, hum, you know, I'm counting on it.

I think I'm totally the minority, in that I think he's gonna pull it off. A lot of people think he's just really selfish and stuck-up, but he's also really smart. It's not gonna be a Guns N' Roses record, in what the rest of the world understands as a Guns N' Roses record.


In December it would be reported that the band had been working in the studio since July, but mostly been in pre-production [New York Daily News, December 17, 1998]. A spokesperson would say:

[Axl]’s only seriously now in the studio recording.


The estimated release date was in the summer of 1999 [New York Daily News, December 17, 1998].


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:41 pm

MAY 1, 1998
THE RECORDING AGREEMENT IS AMENDED
AND AXL RECEIVES AN ADVANCE TO FINISH CHINESE DEMOCRACY


On May 1, 1998, the recording agreement of September 1, 1992, between Axl, Slash and Duff, and Geffen Records, was amended to confirm Slash and Duff's departure from the agreement, resulting in the agreement now being between Axl and the label only [Legal document, March 15, 2004]. This means that Slash and Duff would be relieved from any "charges against their royalty accounts for the enormous recording costs and other expenses being incurred by Axl Rose (the only 'Remaining Member' of Guns N' Roses) in connection with the recording of the new Guns N' Roses studio album" [Legal document, March 15, 2004]. In other words, Slash and Duff would not have their royalties reduced due to the costs of making Chinese Democracy.

In the other agreement signed May 1, 1998, Axl promised to finish Chinese Democracy before March 1, 1999, and would in return receive a "substantial advance" from Geffen.



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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:41 pm

SEPTEMBER 1998
LOOKING FOR A PRODUCER - SEAN BEAVAN


Then, in the second half of 1998, it was reported that Sean Beavan was discussing with the band to be the new producer [Rolling Stone Magazine, September 18, 1998]. According to insiders, Beavan and Axl had agreed in principle, but details and contracts had yet to be worked out [Rolling Stone Magazine, September 18, 1998]. By November the pair was allegedly working together in the studio, although Beavans's manager, Shannon O'Shea, would not confirm that Beavan's involvement [Rolling Stone, November 14, 1998]:

[Beavan is] up for several things right now. Guns n' Roses may or may not be one of them.


Throughout 1999 it would be clear from numerous media reports that Beavan and engineer Critter were selected for the project.

And in 2000, Goldstein would confirm Beavan's prominent producer role:

[Beavan has] been the only producer. The others were people we met with or tried out on some tracks [with].


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:42 pm

OCTOBER 27, 1998
'WELCOME TO THE VIDOES' IS RELEASED


On October 27, 1998, Geffen Home Video would release a 70-minute compilation of music videos from Guns N' Roses [Press release, October 19, 1998]. The video would contain the following 13 music videos: "Welcome to the Jungle," "November Rain," "Estranged," "Sweet Child O' Mine," "Paradise City," "Patience," "Don't Cry," "Live and Let Die," "Yesterdays," "Garden of Eden," "The Garden," "Dead Horse," and "Since I Don't Have You".


Welcome to the Videos
October 27, 1998


In October 2003, a DVD version of Welcome to the Videos would be released [Press Release, October 15, 2003].


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:42 pm

DECEMBER 10, 1998
GEFFEN RECORDS IS MERGED WITH INTERCSOPE


On December 10, 1998, Seagram acquired Polygram from Phillips and in the process merged Universal Music Group (from Seagram) with Polygram's music holdings [The New York Times, December 21, 1998]. Geffen Records, who had been underperforming for some time [Los Angeles Times, May 31, 1997] were part of Universal music group and now became part of Interscope [The New York Times, December 21, 1998]. As a result of the restructuring, Seagram's management pledged to cut costs and save $300 million annually and it was expected that two-thirds of the rosters at each label will be dropped outright [The New York Times, December 21, 1998].

This merger meant that Slash's second Snakepit album would be released on Interscope, a change he felt a bit disconcerting:

You sort of just roll with it and deal with it as realistically as possible, and maintain your own personal integrity as far as your music and the decisions you make. You hope you're smart enough to play the game your way and still work within the confines of the industry. […]

I'm going to miss a lot of the Geffen people because that's family. That's the only thing I regret about it.


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:43 pm

JANUARY 1999
SLASH, DUFF AND MATT PLAY TOGETHER AT THE SLAMDANCE FESTIVAL


In January 1999, Slash would reunite with Duff and Matt for a club gig at the Slamdance film festival [Sonic Net, February 1, 1999]. The show would include several Matt compositions from the Slamdance film, "Soundman", as well as covers of the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan [Sonic Net, February 1, 1999].

Before we left, people were saying... it's on the Internet, it's in 'Variety' that Guns is back together to play.



And that's just like so far away from anything that's true. We're just here to play. It's not that big of a deal, but we play good together.

[Slam dance was very] fun. Matt worked on the soundtrack for a movie and he arranged all the songs and musicians. I sang a song and Slash played guitar. I don't know if you've seen the movie, it's a low-budget, independent movie that was accepted in Sundance Festival. So we went and played at the movie party. It was just us letting loose, playing and having fun.


When asked why they didn't just make a new band, Duff responded:

I believe this will happen. And I think that would be fabulous. We’re very close friends as well as with Izzy. We’re in daily contact. Slash, Matt and myself played at the Slamdance Film Festival [in Park City, Utah]. You can’t create a good feeling between three or four people. It has to be already there. And when we played together, not only was there the feeling, but also a big energy. Those who attended that show probably remember it cause it was really powerful. We felt so good on-stage that the music just seemed to flow. It was one of those magic nights....


Being asked whether it isn't "unfair to play this semi-Guns concert, given that the band’s not complete":

We play together very often and what would be unfair would be to ask us to stop doing it. It would be like forbidding a kid to go play outside with his friends or telling him, if his parents were divorced, that he had to stop seeing one of them. But I think that, if we don’t want to form a band right now, it’s because we want to get away from that Guns image. We’d like to prove to ourselves that we are musicians.


Then in the end of January, Duff was scheduled to play at the Whisky in Los Angeles together with Gilby, Tracii and Teddy (Zig Zag) Andreas [MTV News, January 29, 1999].

Also in early 1999, Slash would again talk about his work with other ex-GN'R members:

I'll hook up with Matt sometimes if he's got a gig going on and he needs me, or vice-versa, if I need to get in touch with Duff for something, or Izzy for that matter. We just hook up and play because we dig doing it.


But late in 1999, Slash would indicate that there were no interest from anyone to reform in a new band:

No one of the members include Izzy and Steven are not thinking of reforming so far. But this doesn't mean the end. This doesn't mean we won't do anything from now on. I don't know what I'm going to do if one of the members wants to do something together. But no one is planning the day of reforming, even Axl. Because he has his own band GN'R.
BURRN! Magazine, 1999; translated from Japanese


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:43 pm

1998-1999
PLANNING A LIVE ALBUM


RECORDING LIVE SHOWS


The band had been recording many of their live shows throughout its history:

Yeah, we’ll doubtless record and video shows on the next tour. In fact, we’ve already done some dates in Japan that way.


All shows from the Use Your Illusion Tour were recorded with the plan being a live album [RAW, June 23, 1993].

We recorded every single show we did and there is a… You know, we've talked for a long time about compiling something out of that. I have no idea… I mean, then again, it could sound like crap. [laughs] We don't know.

Basically we're just waiting to find somebody who has the patience to sit trough it. [laughs].



1998-1999: RELEASING A LIVE RECORD


By late 1998, the band was discussing a live release:



However, Bryn Bridenthal, director of publicity at Geffen Records and still connected to the ongoing version of Guns N' Roses, would refer to a live album as a "fantasy concept" [Rolling Stone, November 14, 1998]:

Axl can only do one thing at a time. When he focuses, he really focuses well, but he sometimes can't see outside the periphery of his laser.


In December it would be speculated that Geffen would try to force a live record if Axl and Guns N' Roses wasn't ready to release a new album [MTV News, December 2, 1998].

In July 1999, Slash would shed some light on this project, informing that mixer Andy Wallace had been selected and would work on mixing tracks for the live album from July 12 to July 29 [MTV News, July 9, 1999]. According to the same report, Axl would be working with another producer for the tracks that involve vocals [MTV News, July 9, 1999]. A spokesperson for Slash would stress that this initial work was only "exploratory" and that a live album was not a done deal yet [MTV News, July 9, 1999].

Later, an anonymous source would say that Slash and Duff, and Axl has worked on shift so to not meet each other during the work:

It was all very odd. Slash and Duff would get together and work on it, and Axl would be sent CDs. He never came to the studio when they were there. It was done in shifts.

Even though I wasn’t in the band anymore, I was there for the mixing, just to make sure it was as honest a representation of GNR live as I thought it should be.


In August it would be rumoured that the re-recorded version of 'Sweet Child O' Mine' that was featured on the 'Bid Daddy' soundtrack [see other chapter], would also be included on the new live album [Metal Hammer, August 13, 1999]. This turned out to not be true.

It would also be rumoured that it might be a double album [Rolling Stone, September 2, 1999].

Andy Wallace, the album's producer, would comment on the material:

It definitely has a live feel, but it's well-recorded and well-played. They were great live and had a lot of concerts to work from.


The tracks would be taken from concerts in Tokyo, Las Vegas and Mexico City [Rolling Stone, September 2, 1999].

In September, it would be reported that Geffen intended to have the live album out by Christmas [Metal Hammer, September 1999].

Then, in November 1999, Axl would talk about the live album and agree that it was a "farewell to [an] era":

It is exactly that. It's a farewell to that.... It was something we wanted to give to the public in a way of saying farewell. It was a very difficult thing to do, as listening to it and the people involved... [it] wasn't the most emotionally pleasant thing to do. […] For me, when I hear certain things on the "Use Your Illusion" tour, I... on that record, it's... since I'm in it, I can hear a band dying. I can hear when Izzy was unconsciously over it. I can hear where the band was leaning away from what Guns N' Roses [had] originally been about.

People may have their favorite songs, and it may be on "Use Your Illusion," but most people do tend to lean towards "Appetite" as being the defining Guns N' Roses record, and I can hear how, in the sound, it was moving away from that there. There's just so much I was able to do in keeping that aspect together.


Del James had been in charge with collecting live tapes to sift through to find quality versions of songs to be included on the album:

Del James worked for a couple of years off and on going though every single show we did on DAT tape from the "Use Your Illusion" tour and then every available tape, and finding tapes, and finding people that have recorded things, so he could have in his mind what was recorded best from the entire time Guns N' Roses was together. There were a lot of difficulties where things weren't... when they were recorded, when they were fully recorded to 24, 48 tracks, it wasn't recorded that well at times, and so it took a long time to find what tracks were available to use, because we had never officially recorded a show to make a live album.


Discussing the live version of 'It's alright' that is included as an intro to 'November Rain' on the album:

Oh, that's on the live [album]. I just like the piano song ["It's Alright"] and the words, and when you play it for people, they had no idea it was a Black Sabbath song. So it was just kind of fun, and then it worked out as a intro to "November Rain" live, and it just so happened that [it] came out well on tape, so we were able to use it.


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:44 pm

1999-
FORMER BAND MEMBERS ON REUNITING WITH AXL IN GUNS N' ROSES


SLASH


As previously discussed, Slash considered the breakup between him and Axl to possibly only be temporarily. In early 1999, he would again reiterate that he could join Guns N' Roses again if Axl would just ask him [Sonic Net, February 1, 1999]:

If Axl was to break down and finally realize what the meat and potatoes of Guns N' Roses always has been, I'm only a phone call away.

When Axl’s head is together and he decides to put the band together, I’ll be around. It’ll be a lot more fun then.

I still play with Duff, with Matt, and with Izzy from time to time. I keep in touch with pretty much everybody. And I don't want to say that I don't miss working with Axl. I just miss working with him under the circumstances that I would consider optimum.


And Slash would say he was open to a one-off but claim that Axl would never do it:

We broke up, period. It's different story if we agreed to reform for only one show in the future, but we will need huge effort to make it happen. There is a chance if it happens like that. That's OK with me if that will be next week. I don't care about the timing, because those shitty things fucked up us. And it has to be original members. But I think AXL would rather shoot himself than reforming with original members. He has hatred to ex-members. I hope he wakes up and smell the roses. Even if he wakes up, he needs huge change to make me and other members understand.
BURRN! Magazine, 1999; translated from Japanese


In July 2000, Slash would be asked if he would be willing to play on one song on Chinese Democracy:

I doubt it. (tension and not having a clear picture of the overall kind of music the band is working in. Snakepit is busy right now.).


And respond to rumours about the Appetite lineup being back together and secretly working on a new album:

Guns N' Roses has ended. The rumors you hear about the band getting back together are just rumors. There is no official truth to a new GNR album being made. While some of us are willing to get back together for a show or short tour, not all of us are. So it won't happen without all of us. Even a show does not look very likely right now


They had already been offered millions to reunite:

If someone comes up to me and asks me if GN’R is going to get back together, I say that if it was the original band and if everybody could straighten their heads out enough to be in the same room to do it, then I would do one show if the situation was right. We’ve been offered millions of dollars to re-group. Originally, I thought, ‘Shit! A couple of days of rehearsal and then go out and play in front of a really excited, enthusiastic audience? Might be fun.' But when we recorded a Stones song (Sympathy for the devil for the Interview with a vampire soundtrack), Axl didn’t even show up. So everybody lost interest. If it was the original band, and Steven Adler could get his shit back together, which I know he’s been trying to do since time began, since I still talk to him all the time. But, the chances of that happening are pretty much nil.

I wouldn’t quit what I’m doing now to go back to Guns for any amount of money. It’s not about the money.

We've had so many offers to do gigs, and none of us has done it for the money. But if the band wanted to get together and go, 'You know what? Let's just hash it out for a second and then see where that takes us,' I would go and do a show. F--k, yeah. I mean, what would it take to go into three, four, six, 12 hours of rehearsal for one, two, three, four, five shows with Guns, with guys I f--king basically lived with for God knows how long. I would do it in a heartbeat. […] The underlying thing is that we have to be straight [with each other]. That's the only reason why we did it in the first place--we were clear on why we were doing it.

I would come for a reunion of GNR if it were the original band.

I don’t see it in the foreseeable future.

[Being asked about working with Axl again]: Probably not.

You know what? Everybody keeps talking about it. Chances are, I don't see it in the foreseeable future (laughs). There's too much bullshit. I mean if somebody goes, “Hey, you know what? There's a weekend here, or a weekend there. You guys want to all get together and fucking go and do these two shows here at such and such a place or whatever”, I'd be like, well, first things first. It's got to be the original band and then you've got to get us all into one room and, schedules permitting, I have no fucking intention of slowing down what I'm doing with Snakepit. I'm saying that, but, more so than anything, I think the person that would rather not have that happen would be Axl. That's the whole reason this all started in the first place.

For the fans and for the excitement of the whole thing, if it was the original band and we all had some sort of meeting of the minds and we were going to do one show and schedules permitting . . . you know, I’ll be around. It’s not like I’m going anywhere. But I don’t have time to wait around for it for any reason other than just doing it for fun.

[Being asked if all it would take was a phone call]: I can say that, because that's easier said then done. In order to get an original Guns N' Roses band together, it'd be almost impossible. But, if the situation happened to arise where we all just happened to magically come to a meeting of the minds and just wanted to do a show, or two shows, or something like that… But doing a record, I'm not going to do drop what I'm doing now, it's been too fucking long. I had too much of a bad time with Guns at the tail end, anyway. We had offers to do so many shows that kids missed out on, we didn't do them because Axl didn't want to do them.

A reunion? I wouldn't do a Guns gig unless the entire original lineup was there and it would be one show -- yeah, cool. Reunion gigs are... What's the word I'm looking for? Uh, it's cliché. For me to quit anything is a big thing in and of itself. So when I quit, I quit. As far as I'm concerned, I quit when it was still cool -- [with] still some semblance of cool left. I did what I had to do. We just went in different directions.

It would probably take a couple of months of psychotherapy just to get us into a room together. [...] No, actually it’s not on a bad note. We just don’t seem to agree on anything. It’s simple as that.

Um, not in the foreseeable future. I don’t think anybody in the band is really interested, except if Axl’s doing it, you know? But I just saw Izzy, and I just saw Duff, and I just saw Steven. And it was like, we all had to, like, just move on. It wasn’t a matter of, “Oh, come on man, let’s get the Guns N’ Roses thing back together.” It’s not even really an issue. When I quit, which is hard for me to quit anything - when I quit I wasn’t kidding, so it was five years ago and it’s like... anyhow. I hate being reminded about it, because (?) I don’t know what to tell you, I left.

If I was still in that band I'd be dead by now. I couldn't handle the no activity... whatever it is that is going on that takes this long, I couldn't handle. I'm way too hyper - got to go out and rock, got to do something. […] One of the reasons I left was because it wasn't the same band as I got into. I might get a sort of twinge of passion if the band was playing something I used to love to play, that's human. But the whole essence of what Guns is about and the whole reason for getting onstage together - the camaraderie, that gang like mentality that makes a band is so gone that I don't see myself going 'Wow - I miss this'. There's not one other fucker in the band I even know.

Nah... I mean, in the foreseeable future, no. Cuz it’s been so long since that was even really a concept. And I see all the other guys in the band all the time. I haven’t seen Axl, but I’ve seen Izzy, and Duff, and Matt, and Steven...

It’s like [a reunion of GN’R] wouldn’t happen. If it were going to happen it would be for a second, just so that the guys -- all sort of being more or less still friends -- could go "Hey! Hi!" and then play like a song. But it’s so not that. […] The thing is, when it ended, it was a series of events that made it end. When I got out of it I was just like, okay that’s a chapter done! I can’t foresee it all coming back together and being what it once was. That’s my whole attitude.

When I split, it was like getting divorced. It was like, OK — that's over. It was never even a consideration. The only regret I have with GNR is that there were a lot of kids sitting around going what the fuck happened? I can't see it ever coming back. Nobody's that interested.

Without a couple of years of psychotherapy, I don't see it coming. It's been six years for me, and longer for others. Izzy -- I won't even bring Izzy into the whole thing (laughs).

I should never say never. But it would take a few solid months of psychotherapy just to be even able to do an impromptu jam. I'm good friends with all the guys in the band, and I keep in touch with them regularly. But when I was forced to quit that band, it was like a divorce. I haven't talked to (lead singer) Axl (Rose) in six years.

[Being asked if he thinks he will ever play with Axl again]: Is this a Guns N’ Roses interview, or is this a Snakepit interview? […] I’ve answered that question a million times. I don’t have any foreseeable plans to work with Guns N’ Roses again. And that’s not just me talking; that’s everyone in the band talking. That’s the bottom line.

Now, I would never say never. If I got a phone call and they told me all the original members were going to cut one song, and everyone else had agreed to that and I was the last guy who needed to answer, I’d say, ‘OK, but what’s the real deal? Because I’m not gonna quit my (expletive) day job.’ And it would have to be all the original guys, and it would have to be really short term. But I wouldn’t want to make a terrible Guns N’ Roses album, and that’s where we were headed. To me, that would have been a lot worse than the fact that we broke up.

Well, that's the question everybody asks. I suppose if it were one show or one project, maybe. But it's hard to say. I'm happy right where I am.

Well, this is my answer for that: if he all of a sudden... First things first. He’s got to get this Guns N’ Roses record. It’s been six years since I quit. If I’d never quit, I’d be pushing daisies right now. I mean, I just can’t handle not working for that long amount of period of time, whatever you want to call it. But if I was to get a phone call going, you know, “Axl wants to make a record,” I’d be like, “You get all the original guys together and then we go through six or seven months of therapy [laughter] and get rid of all this baggage, not to mention get rid of the whole Guns N’ Roses sort of business entourage that’s so screwed up. Then it’s possible, let’s maybe do a song for a movie or something like that. […] And there just got to a point where there’d be like, we get huge dollar amount offers to do one show in Budapest or something like that...


Jack Douglas, Slash's producer on 'Ain't Life Grand', would also comment:

Enormous pressure, like 100 million dollars worth. And [Slash is] not against it, if Axl goes back to being the Axl that he loves.
KNAC.COM, February 28, 2000


In late 2001 Slash would try to attend a Guns N' Roses show and say he would be happy to play a song with the new band [see later section]. This happened around the same time it would be reported that Slash had disbanded Snakepit, and it is hard to not interpret this as Slash making a move to possibly reunite with Axl.

In mid-2002 Slash would again reiterate that he would do it with the original band:

I have no regrets about anything. If all the original members wanted to do it again, I'd do it.


With Velvet Revolver becoming a reality and Axl having moved on with his new version of Guns N' Roses, Slash closed the door to reuniting:

There will never come a time when we all get together and play under the name Guns ‘N Roses because it’s too f—ing tainted. If he’d done the solo thing, then we could have gotten together and jammed for one show. Now it’s like, over with. He screwed that up.

To be honest, I don't [think GN'R will reunite], but I'd be and idiot if I said that it'll never happen, because if it ever happens I'll be seen as an idiot. But it is not something in which I pay much attention to at the moment, I'm very busy with Velvet Revolver and I hope this keeps me busy for a long time. Besides, I don't think Axl will ever change his attitude, so I don't know. One of the reasons why I left the band was because it had become a weightload more than something I enjoyed.

I don’t think that’s ever been for me to say. That’s a question that should be directed at Axl. I haven’t even spoken to him in about eight years, so I have no idea where his head is at right now. All I know is that I’m very excited about Velvet Revolver, and that’s where my total focus is at the moment. It’s gonna have to be something very special for me to change that focus - even for a short while.

I haven't talked to him since I quit. I don't really see a reunion happening. The things that are keeping us apart are so much tougher than money. [...] But now ]Axl]'s dragged [the name] through the mud so much that even if he said, 'Look guys, I've been to therapy and I'm a better person now, let's get back together and do a show,' we'd all be like, we don't want to be in that band. [...] No amount of money will make that happen. It's a relationship that's too human, too delicate and too volatile to have money manipulate it. There was a period where people said, 'Why not do one show?' And I'd say, when you get him straightened out, then we can talk about doing a show, but right now it's just not my priority. I'm not really waiting around for Axl to get his head together.

I don’t think it’s an issue between – I don’t think Axl would do it. I know we wouldn’t do it. [...] The money’s been unreal.

Basically, it’s not something that’s going to happen. If Axl wanted that to happen, there’s no way I’d respond in a positive way. We’re in for the long haul with Velvet Revolver. I’m happy, man. I have everything I need. Why would I need GN’R back in my life? I don’t need the grief.



DUFF


If it's something democratic between the five of us, that's something I would love to do. Not long ago we were offered several shows to begin the new Millennium in Australia. But there's no way it could be like the old days. Things have changed.

[Being asked if he would ever go back to Guns N' Roses]: It seems that people mellow with age...we will see.


In 2002 and 2003 when Velvet revolver was starting to become a reality, the band members would get more questions about a proper reunion involving Axl:

Slash is having a baby. It's changed him so much already. I have two daughters, a beautiful wife, and a house. So any kind of reunion would have to be a real relaxed, family-type affair, like it was in the beginning. I talk to Izzy all the time, see him around. So does Slash. We're friends. It's not worth screwing that up. You know, Izzy had to leave last time to save his life. He got clean of heroin, and he had to get out... [...] We went through so much. I mean, not like war or anything, but a lot. There are things that I can only talk to them about. Things that not even my wife, who I sleep with every night, knows, because she wouldn't understand that stuff. It was pretty heavy stuff. The Loaded album deals with that. It's a little snapshot of a guy's life. A guy who's talking about life after seeing some pretty heavy stuff. I mean, in my 20s they were pretty fucking intense.


And about the rumour that a manager had already got the five of them in therapy somewhere:

Hey, I heard that! If it's happened, nobody told Slash. I asked Izzy, and nobody had told him. I think it's just some big manager saying: 'I can get them back together. I'll get them in therapy and go from there.' There have been a couple of offers tabled for the reunion tour. We're not talking about it right now. I'm not saying in two years time or three years time I won't be talking to you about the reunion tour, but not right now.


As Slash when Velvet Revolver became serious, Duff would close the door to a reunion [The Howard Stern Show, May 24, 2004].



IZZY


Now, I can't imagine doing Guns N' Roses. I still talk to Duff once a week, I talked to Slash yesterday - I actually saw Steven Adler for lunch three days ago, which was… a trip! And other than the singer, we still all talk, so it would be easy for us to go in the studio and make music. It's only the singer - he's the only square peg in a round hole!


Izzy being asked what would happen if Chinese Democracy flopped and Axl called him up to ask him to rejoin the band:

I could hear the call. 'You know, I've been, ah, thinking'. He talks really slow when he gets an idea like that. 'Aahhh, I've been thinking...' And I'd be thinking, 'He must be broke' [chuckling] That's how I imagine the call would go.


And on whether he would do it:

Yeah, why not? [chuckling] A [one-off] gig would be easy, I'd think. […] It's funny cos like me, Duff and Slash - we could go in and make a Guns N' Roses record in a week. basic tracks. [But] vocals and leads [instrumentation] could take God knows how long...

If he called me I would tell him: we're going to talk to Slash and Duff and make some good music, I think that it would be good. […] Only with the original formation, or at least with Slash and Duff, I couldn't do it any other way.
Kerrang! (Spain), June 2001; translated from Spanish


Around the same time Izzy also did another interview where he stated that Axl had indeed asked him to rejoin the band before the Rock in Rio concert in January 2001 [see later section].


STEVEN


I would love to! If the guys want to, I want to! We owe it to our fans and the fans we don’t even have yet, and will have. I’m ready if they're ready, I wanna rock! Let Axl get out of his system what he wants to get out, so we can chill out and be a fuckin’ rock n roll band.  Slash is one of the most talented musicians ever, I’m sure once those two are into it Izzy and Duff will be too! “I wanna rock”!

[Being asked what he would say if he walked into Axl on the street]: I originally met Axl walking down the street! Sunset Blvd. from Tower Records walking over to Izzy's place 'cause I just met Izzy and I was walking down Palm Street and Axl was leaving this chicks apartment where we would hang out and party, walking over to Izzy's apartment, and if I ran into him today I’d probably say the same thing I said then, when I first met him - "Hey dude, aren't you that fuckin' guy that played last night and was a kick ass fucking singer? I got a great guitar player and a kick ass bass player, if you and your other guitar player want to get together, I think we would have a kick ass rock band. AND - with that as a joke, of course,  I would hug him and say, "I love ya, miss you bro".


But not so much in the new version of GN'R:

Ok, well, yeah I think about calling, but I wouldn’t know what to say. Axl can get any drummer in this world that he wants! I’m not  playing on this new record and personally I don’t care to tour for it. I know that together the five us can record a album greater than Appetite! So however great this album is that Axl’s putting out, he’s the only original one on it, so it’s really Axls’ record, not the bands record, however great it is, imagine how great an album with the five of us would be!


In 2003 Steven would be asked why he would reunite with Axl when Axl had treated him so badly:

[...] I totally agree with you 1000%.  Axl is a great singer but a lousy, y’know, friend or bandmate. The only reason I’d like to put the band back is for one, the five of us together could still work incredible and great and be comfortable with each other. Together we could pull something off that’s fantastically awesome. I think we owe it to the fans and ourselves. But I can't wait anymore, if it happens it happens.



GILBY & TRACII


Gilby on whether he would like to rejoin at some point:

My part of the band was with Matt, Slash and Duff, but you can never say never.

[After Axl had jammed with Gilby in June 2000]: Whatever reasons he came down I really don't know. It is what it is. I don't have any interest in putting the band back together, and I don't think he does either.


Tracii would also chime in:

I'll tell you what I know, as far as what's going on. I know that Slash has said he'd do it now -- okay. Axl will never say he'll do it, but that doesn't really mean anything. And then off in this corner is Duff and Matt, talking about doing something, as far as Guns N' Roses is concerned. And someone called Izzy, and Izzy said he'd play New Year's Eve for like, you know a couple million bucks. And that's the state of Guns N' Roses. And then Axl has actually put the name Guns N' Roses in his name, saying that he owns the name. So that's all I know.


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:45 pm

JANUARY 1999
RUMOURS ABOUT GUNS HEADLINING SUMMER FESTIVALS OF 1999


In early 1999 it would be claimed Guns N' Roses were considering headlining Lollapalooza '99 after having received an offer from organizers at the William Morris Agency [Rolling Stone, January 17, 1999]. But in the end of January, Ted Gardner, co-director of Lollapalooza, would state that no offers had been sent out to bands yet [Los Angeles Times, January 31, 1999].

The band had allegedly also received an offer from the annual OzzFest tour [Rolling Stone, January 17, 1999].

A source close to the band would say, "we wouldn't be discussing it if we didn't think they could [get an album out in time for the tour to start] [Rolling Stone, January 17, 1999].

In April it would be rumoured that Guns N' Roses were close to signing on as one of the headliners for Woodstock '99 [Los Angeles Times, April 1, 1999]. Then, a few days later, it was reported that Guns N' Roses would not headline Woodstock, because they simply wouldn't be ready with their album in time [Rolling Stone, April 4, 1999]. Then a few days later, Michael Lang, one of the co-producers of the event would claim it was 50/50 whether Guns N' Roses would be there, and:

It would depend on how well they are coming along with the recordings and whether they're ready to do it. They very much want to.


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:45 pm

JANUARY-AUGUST 1999
WORKING ON NEW MUSIC


In early 1999 the band was said to be back in the studio after a Christmas break [MTV News, January 8, 1999]. Insiders said to expect a "strong album with a big sound" [MTV News, January 8, 1999].

In mid-1999 there would be rumours that Axl was presenting unfinished tracks to the label [Spin, July 1999].

There would also be rumours there was tension between Paul and Tommy, because, as a source would have it, Paul "has the whole Guns attitude but he's never toured" [Spin, July 1999].

Youth, who had been involved as a possible producer for the band in the first half of 1988, would mention that Axl had been working on a song called 'Prostitute' but that he was struggling in the studio:

They sold millions of records in a few years. He had a big crew of people in the studio ... and I think that kind of pressure chokes creativity.


Around the same time, Chris Vrenna would speculate on how the record would sound:

I have a feeling it's gonna be more like Appetite than people are expecting.


In February, Tommy would say he wasn't allowed to talk about the work they were doing, but still say that:

This is the hardest I’ve worked on a record.


In April, sources would claim the band was almost finished [E! News Online, April 2, 1999].

In early June, The New York Daily News would claim that the record was getting closer and might be out by November, in the words of a "source close to" Axl:

November is looking possible. ... Axl [Rose] swears he’s going to deliver a record by late fall. The head guys at Interscope have heard what he’s doing, and everybody’s pretty excited - and they haven’t even heard the vocals. The tracks have been recorded for a long time, but Axl’s just starting to lay down the vocals.


Around the same time, Moby would offer some advice to the band:

My advice to them would be to stop worrying about it and just make a record. Go into the studio for a month and at the end of the month, your record has to be finished. Go in and play and have fun and sing songs and don't worry about selling billions of records, just have fun and make a nice record. At this point, they've spent so many years on it, and they don't seem to be any closer to actually having a finished record.
MTV News, June 8, 1999[/url]


In August Kerrang! would present possible song titles: 'Prostitute', 'Cock-a-roach Soup', 'This I Love', 'Suckerpunched', 'No Love Remains', 'Friend Or Foe', 'Zip It', 'Something Always', 'Hearts Get Killed' and 'Closing In On You' [Kerrang! August 21, 1999]. The magazine would also list possible titles for the album: 'Cockroach Soup' or '2000 Intentions' [Kerrang! August 21, 1999]. These titles were all taken from an unknow earlier source.


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:45 pm

MAY 1999
GUNS N' ROSES ON THE 'HEAVY METAL F.A.K.K. 2' SOUNDTRACK?


In May 1999, it was reported that Bruce Berman, music supervisor for the soundtrack to the movie "HEAVY METAL F.A.K.K. 2", was in discussion with Axl to include a new Guns N' Roses song in the movie [MTV News, May 24, 1999]. The movie would never be released.


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:46 pm

JUNE 25, 1999
A NEW VERSION OF 'SWEET CHILD' IS FEATURED IN THE 'BIG DADDY' MOVIE


As discussed previously [see earlier chapter], when Youth came in as a producer one of the first things he said he had done, was dissuade the band from re-record Appetite for Destruction. Despite this, in June 1999, 'Big Daddy', the new Adam Sandler movie, would feature a new version of 'Sweet Child O' Mine' [MTV News, July 9, 1999]. During the closing credits of the movie, a hybrid version of the song would be played, starting with the original version and morphing into a new version [MTV News, July 9, 1999]. In addition, at the start of the song, Axl is heard repeating the word "Figaro", which was a last-minute addition "for fun," according to Lori Lahman, a musical supervisor for the movie [MTV News, July 9, 1999].


Big Daddy
June 25, 1999


Later it would be claimed that Axl had wanted to include a new version of the song on the soundtrack, but Slash and Duff had refused to allow this and hence instead a hybrid song would end up playing during the end credits and not be included on the soundtrack [CDNow/Allstar, January 8, 2002].


IT IS TRUE: APPETITE IS RE-RECORDED


Moby would claim that the new lineup had indeed recorded a new version of 'Appetite' [Kerrang! August 21, 1999] and Axl would later confirm this:

In fact, actually, I have re-recorded "Appetite" and-- […] Yes, I have [re-recorded Appetite for Destruction]. Yes [the whole album]. Well, with the exception of two songs, because we replaced those with "You Could Be Mine," and "Patience," and why do that? Well, we had to rehearse them anyway to be able to perform them live again, and there were a lot of recording techniques and certain subtle styles and drum fills and things like that that are kind of '80s signatures that subtly could use a little sprucing up... a little less reverb and a little less double bass and things like that.


And Axl would also list the musicians on the re-recording:

Josh Freese on drums, Tommy Stinson on bass, Paul Tobias on guitar -- you guys know him as Paul Huge, that's how it's been written everywhere. It's Paul Tobias on guitar, and Robin Finck was on lead guitar, but that... that will stay on some of it. Robin's guitar will stay on some, but not all.


And discuss his plans for the album:

I don't know what I'm going to do with it, exactly, when I would be putting that out. But you know, it has a lot of energy. Learning the old Guns songs and getting them up, you know, putting them on tape, really forced everybody to get them up to the quality that they needed to be at. Once the energy was figured out by the new guys, how much energy was needed to get the songs right, then it really helped in the writing and recording process of the new record.


Axl would also later comment on the band learning the old songs in connection with the band playing old GN'R songs at Rock in Rio 3 in January 2001:

Well, they are truly Guns N’ Roses in the sense that at first they didn’t want to (laughs). They didn't want to play the old songs that much, because they are their own musicians. In other words, they had a punk attitude like old Guns N' Roses. […] But then it became fun for them, and they began to really appreciate the songs and they really enjoy playing them.


Rumours would have it the reason Axl wanted to re-record Appetite was to be able to license out songs without having to pay royalties to the AFD lineup. Duff and Slash would comment:

l have nothing to say about that. I just wouldn't have an idea on where to start.

Oh, you don't ask me that particular question. I have nothing but negative things to say about something like that.


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:46 pm

AUGUST 1999
ROBIN LEAVES THE BAND


I was done absolutely with tracks and songs I was writing and recording with Axl - tenfold. My work was really completed there.

_______________________________________

In August 1999, it would be reported that Robin had left Guns N' Roses [MTV News, August 4, 1999; Kerrang! August 21, 1999]. Allegedly, he had been hired on a two year contract and it had expired on August 1, 1999 [Allstarmag, August 4, 1999; Kerrang! August 21, 1999]. With no tour or new album in sight, sources said Robin returned to Nine Inch Nail who was planning to embark on a tour [MTV News, August 4, 1999].

Robin would comment on his decision to rejoin Nine Inch Nails:

I'd made the decision to come back before I'd heard the record, which is something I did intentionally. I'd been in contact loosely with mostly Danny [Lohner] through the past couple of years, so I knew what stage they were at and that they'd never replaced me - they'd never needed to for a live situation.

It was a difficult decision to make because I was so wrapped up in what I was doing at the time and I was proud of the work I'd done. But when it came down to it, I couldn't imagine NIN going out without me or with somebody else. I'm in a good place right now.

We wrote and rehearsed and argued and laboriously recorded several records worth of musical material, which to the best of my knowledge Axl is still finishing. But my work was through. We had dozens of finished songs, as far as I was concerned, and we were waiting for Axl to complete the songs.  So the timing was perfect. Nails were about to go on the road again, and I wanted to go out on the road with them.

I was with [Cirque de Soleil] for about a year and a half. I got a call from Axl. We’ve been working on the record but I will doubt that will come out any time soon. The drummer in A Perfect Circle (Josh Freese ) was also working with us. That’s basically what I was doing while Trent was doing the Fragile. I had kept in touch with with Danny, Trent and Charlie and my work was through with Axl. My time with Axl was up. I was excited to come back to NIN. It was right for me. It was right for Trent. The timing was uncanny.


Doug Goldstein would indicate Robin might return:

Robin [Finck] is doing his Nine Inch Nails thing and we have no idea how long that's gonna last.


Despite this Robin's contract being up, Axl would express surprise with Robin's departure:

Robin's departure was abrupt, sudden, you know, not expected but at the same time, it's turned out to be a good thing. We've been able to push some of the guitar parts a step farther, that had he been here, it's not something that would have been considered, and I wouldn't have been rude enough to attempt to do that. Robin did a great job, but we've been able to up the ante a little bit.


A spokesperson for the label would say:

Robin finished recording several albums worth of material with Guns N' Roses. Axl is now working on the vocals for the album.


Robin was excited about the work he had done while in Guns N' Roses:

I was with Axl for a little over two years, and we recorded dozens of songs together. I’m really proud of what we did as a band. I’m anxious to see how it’s completed.. [Will it be?]  Oh, yes [grinning]. You may depend on it.

I'd helped write and arrange and recorded enough songs for several records. Honestly, we recorded so many different song ideas and completed so many different types of songs — from quiet, very simple traditional piano songs to 16 stereo tracks of keyboard blur and everything in between.


In 2000 Robin would say he wasn't involved anymore and didn't know anything about release dates:

Each month that flips past is a month that I don’t really keep in touch with them. I don’t really know what is going to happen.


He would also indicate that he one of the reasons he had left because of the slow process, and especially the lack of lyrics:

It was great for a while, but then it became terribly frustrating not seeing anything completed because no lyrics were finished. It's one of the reasons I'm not there anymore. No one song was ever completed — and I was there for two and a half years. […] When he finishes the lyrics, I assume [the songs] are going to be released. I hope they turn out great. There's a lot of potential there.

My work with Axl was completed from my perspective. I’d been with him for 2 1/2 years and the band sounded great. I was writing and recording all these songs and we had several albums worth of material. It was really exciting for a while, but until I’d left, nothing was completed lyrically. So I was done. I was no longer inspired to spend 14 hours on track number 41 when track 40 wasn’t even finished.


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:47 pm

REPLACING ROBIN


Axl did not appear stressed by Robin's departure:

[…] we will be continuing to look for and or decide who the official new guitar player will be, but it's not that important to the band at this time, as that person's not really needed. There's not a whole lot for them to do at this time in regards to recording, as we've recorded [a] majority of material.


Yet Doug Goldstein would state that they were looking for replacements, and that Dave Navarro was still very much in the picture [Rolling Stone, November 9, 1999].

At some point in 1999, guitarist Stevie Salas would audition for the job:

Stevie jammed with the new Guns N' Roses line-up at a recording studio in Los Angeles. They played such classic songs as "Welcome To the Jungle," "Its So Easy, "Sweet Child O' Mine," "Paradise City" and "You Could Be Mine." The jam session went on for about 5 hours and reportedly they really rocked!
www.steviesalas.com, December 6, 1999

I spent an evening jammin with a band that was called Guns N' Roses, five hours at 300db. It was loud!!! But it wasn't the real Guns. There can't be a Guns without Slash! Keith and Mick (Rolling Stones) Steven and Joe (Aerosmith), Axl and Slash... That's the way it is! But Axl's new music was taking chances and I have to respect that.


And apparently, Marilyn Manson's guitarist, Zim Zum, was also offered the job:

At the end of Zim Zum's tour of duty as guitarist in Marilyn Manson he entered into self-imposed exile for a year in his Chicago home. He turned down offers to join a band which he describes as having "an appetite for destruction," along with record label offers before he even recorded a note."
Chart Attack, November 2000


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:47 pm

AUGUST-OCTOBER 1999
WORKING ON NEW MUSIC


After leaving Robin would describe what they had written and recorded by the time he left:

We wrote and rehearsed and argued about, and laboriously recorded, dozens of songs in L.A. for several years. Of those songs, two fistfuls are musically finished.

We experimented with all kinds of methods of writing and recording songs, from traditional piano to traditional rock songs to too many tracks of way-too-stereo keyboard blurbs and everything in between.

Many lines have been crossed, way too many Fridays going, ‘Hmm?’

What actually makes it to the record, I don’t really know.

We recorded a lot of cool songs and potential tracks.


And:

[M]ost of the stronger songs that ended up on A-lists when I was there were huge rock songs, built for the masses, really guitar-driven.


This is in-line with Axl's comments that the first record would be more guitar-focused than the second [see other chapter].

Kerrang! would also speculate that Axl had recorded the album three times and that the production costs now exceeded $ 1,000,000 [Kerrang! August 21, 1999].

Josh was a busy session drummer while also working on the new Guns N' Roses record. Amongst other, he also worked with Chris Cornell at the time, who would talk about Josh and the new GN'R record:

Yeah, [Josh is] a busy guy. He was showing up playing from like noon to four, then he’d go off from like nine till four in the morning playing with Axl, and then he’d show up the next day when we needed him. He’s got lot of energy though, so he was OK. […] He’s also very, uh, word careful. We asked him certain questions [about the Guns record], but he knew what he should and shouldn’t talk about. I just wanted to know what it felt like for him to be playing ‘Sweet Child 0’ Mine’ with a band made out of all these punk rock guys and Axl, cos I think that’s really fucking weird, but it must be kind of cool. […] I think they actually have a lot of creative freedom with what they’re doing with Axl, they’re getting to write parts and stuff - and when he’d come to work with me it’s almost the opposite of what you would think. I would tell him exactly what to play when the song was finished.
Metal Hammer, October 1999


In September and October, Sonic Net would be doing surveys to gauge what the interest was from the public on Guns N' Roses. On the question, "Can Axl Rose successfully revive Guns n' Roses?", 70 % answered 'no' and only 30 % 'yes' [Sonic Net, September 9, 1999]. And on the question, "Can Guns N' Roses conquer the airwaves again?", 61 % answered 'no' and only 39 % answered 'yes' [Sonic Net, October 12, 1999].


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:48 pm

NOVEMBER 2, 1999
'END OF DAYS' SOUNDTRACK WITH 'OH MY GOD'


In August 1999, it would be rumoured that Guns N' Roses might contribute a song to the soundtrack to the movie 'End of Days' [MTV News, August 8, 1999], and in September the rumours were confirmed [MTV News, September 8, 1999].

So on November 2, 1999, the world would finally hear new music from Guns N' Roses, just over 5 years since the band released 'Sympathy for the Devil.' Again, the music would be a one-off song intended for a movie soundtrack, this time for the movie 'End of Days'. The Guns N' Roses song was 'Oh My God' [MTV, November 8, 1999].

The song was initially claimed to have been written specifically by Axl after seeing an advance screening of the movie [MTV News, September 8, 1999].

G. Marc Roswell, the film's music supervisor, would state:

It’s absolutely classic Axl, but it has a lot of new elements. It fits the movie really well.




End of Days soundtrack
June 25, 1999


In connection with the release, Axl would release a statement:

So here's the story behind this music...

The chorus: OH MY GOD etc. deals with the societal repression of deep and often agonizing emotions -- some of which may be willingly accepted for one reason or another -- the appropriate expression of which (one that promotes a healing, release and a positive resolve) is often discouraged and many times denied. Emotionally the song contemplates several abstract perspectives drawing from personal expression as well as from the film (End Of Days) and its metaphors. The appropriate expression and vehicle for such emotions and concepts is not something taken for granted.

Musically the song was primarily written by Paul Huge over two years ago, with Dizzy Reed writing the musical hook of the chorus. Former member Duff McKagan as well as former employee Matt Sorum failed to see its potential and showed no interest in exploring, let alone recording the piece. When the demos were played for the new band, Josh, Tommy and Robin were as they say 'all over it.'

Once the opportunity was presented, the song was given priority in our recording process. As the verse, performance and lyrics were decided on, for us (that especially includes Interscope chairman Jimmy Iovine) the choice became obvious. We were more than pleased Mr. Roswell (the film's music supervisor) agreed! Our thanks to Arnold and all for the consideration -- it is an association in which we have always felt honored.

Paul Huge, Gary Sunshine and Dave Navarro appear on the song as well as Robin Finck. Robin's part was written by Paul and extensively manipulated by our producer, Sean Beaven. Robin was not involved in the writing of the final recording though did participate in the arrangement. All lyrics were written by myself. Additional programming (jack boots, screeching tires, etc.) was by Stuart White.

The fight of good vs. evil, positive vs. negative, man against a seemingly undefeatable, undeterrable, unrevealed destiny, along with the personal and universal struggle to attain, maintain and responsibly manage freewill can be and often is frustrating to say the least. In America our country's constitutional right to freedom of expression gives us a better chance to fight for that expression than many in other countries enjoy. It can be a big gig, like kickin' the crap outta the devil!

Power to the people, peace out and blame Canada.


The song would feature a guitar solo from Dave Navarro [MTV, November 8, 1999] who had been drafted in since Robin had left:

Robin's departure was abrupt, sudden, you know, not expected but at the same time, it's turned out to be a good thing. We've been able to push some of the guitar parts a step farther, that had he been here, it's not something that would have been considered, and I wouldn't have been rude enough to attempt to do that. Robin did a great job, but we've been able to up the ante a little bit. Dave came in and did something great on "Oh My God," and we've had a few other people come in, so that was a setback for a while, but then it's turned out to be a good thing.


Robin would comment upon the track which he had had no part in writing and recording:

We recorded a lot of cool songs and potential tracks. I hope [Oh My God] not very typical of them.


Axl would talk about Navarro:

I've always been a fan of Dave Navarro, to the point that when we got signed, I had a Jane's Addiction demo tape [laughs] and was actually trying to convince the record company, "No, no, no, no, I suck. We suck. These guys rock!" And I was trying to get Tom Zutaut, at the time [at Geffen], to sign Jane's Addiction, and he was actually in negotiations to sign them at one point. I was just into Jane's Addiction.

[…]

That's really what finally got the public to find some interest in Guns N' Roses, and there was a lot less [interest] for Jane's Addiction. Where now, I think, we would consider Jane's Addiction one of the great rock and roll bands in the last however many years. They were a great band, they were a bit ahead of their time. I was a very big fan of them, and Dave.

Dave's a great guitar player. It's a different style. It's not like Guns N' Roses. It's not blues-based, and it's not all that Guns N' Roses is, and that was done on purpose. There will be elements of blues-based things on the new Guns record. It's a very diverse record. There's a lot of hip-hop beats, there's straight-ahead rock. But if someone says, "Hip-hop beats," what do you mean by that? Well, Radiohead uses beats that are similar to hip-hop beats. There's actual, "official" hip-hop beats and then there's "Radiohead-style" hip-hop beats, there's rock beats. Like I say, "Oh My God" has a disco beat in it. I read a review where somebody caught that. That made me laugh.


And Navarro would talk about the project:

There's no story. We didn't hook up at, like, The Rainbow and said, 'Hey, let's get together and do a song.' They just called me up, and I went down to the studio. I spent about an hour and a half there. I played a guitar solo, and that's it.

It was an existing track. I played a guitar solo on it. There really wasn't much direction to give me. I think that that's why they called me, because they figured they wouldn't have to give me any direction.

The truth is, I wish there was an interesting story, but it was honestly like just doing a session. Axl and I had been trying to play for years, and it just never worked out for one reason or another. He just called me and it happened to be a good time, so it worked out. But I just kinda went down there and I spent maybe an hour and a half in the studio, played some stuff, and went home.


The song would represent a break with the classical sound of Guns N' Roses, and Axl would describe how it came about:

Basically, [I'm] listening to everything that's out there as far as music goes. That was a big difference between myself and Slash and Duff, is that I didn't hate everything new that came out. I really liked the Seattle movement. I like White Zombie. I like Nine Inch Nails, and I like hip-hop. I don't hate everything. I don't think everybody should be worshiping me 'cause I was around before them.

So once it was really understood by me that I'm really not going to be able to make the right old-style Guns N' Roses record, and if I try to take into consideration what Guns did on "Appetite," which was to kind of be a melting pot of a lot things that were going on, plus use past influences, I could make the right record if I used my influences from what I've been listening to that everybody else is listening to out there. So in that sense, I think it is like old Guns N' Roses as far as, like, the spirit and the attempt to throw all kinds of different styles together. If you get to the second guitar solo in "Oh My God," Paul's doing a very Izzy Stradlin-Aerosmith-type riff in the middle of the song, which is a completely different thing than everything else that's going on in the music, but yet it blends. There's a disco drum beat in the post-chorus, in the heaviest section of the song. We blended a lot of things.


Duff would later comment on Axl's statement that he and Slash didn't appreciate new music:

I want to say something against that MTV interview. He said the he likes the Seattle sound, but Slash and me hated the new music that comes out. It's stupid, but let me defend myself. I'm the one who brought ICE-T or Killing Joke etc. in the band and listened to other kind of music. I'm not a country boy from Indiana. I'm from Seattle!
Burrn! Magazine, December 1999; translated from Japanese


Slash would later comment on the song:

I’m not gonna pass judgement. […] Listen, listen. If that’s what [Axl] wanted to do and that’s why – the development of that is what made me quit. […] Whatever it is, it’s not what I was –

Yeah, I heard it when I went to see the movie End Of Days. And I don’t have any real opinion about it. […] And when I heard Oh My God, it convinced me that my departure had been a wise decision and that Axl and I were definitely no longer on the same wavelength musically.
Hard Rock (France), October 2000; translated from French


Axl would also mention that for 'Oh My God' as with other songs they were working on, Axl would write the lyrics after the music was finished:

I write the vocals last, because I wanted to invent the music first and push the music to the level that I had to compete against it. That's kind of tough. It's like you got to go in against these new guys who kicked ass. You finally got the song musically where you wanted to, and then you have to figure out how to go in and kick its ass and be one person competing against this wall of sound.

Why I chose to do it that way is that, you know, I can sit and write poetry 'til hell freezes over, and getting attached to any particular set of words... I felt that I would write to those words in a dated fashion, and we really wouldn't get the best music. "Oh My God" is a perfect example. When we finally got "Oh My God" where it needed to be, then I got the right words to it. With "Appetite," I wrote a lot of the words first, but in, like, "Oh My God," I wrote the words second, but the music was written like "Appetite." We kept developing it until it we got it right. [With] "Appetite," everything had been worked on, and worked on, and worked on. That was not the case with "Use Your Illusion."


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:49 pm

NOVEMBER 1999
AXL REEMERGES


Then, in November 1999, Axl emerged for a surprise interview with MTV's Kurt Loder [MTV, November 8, 1999]. One of the first questions to Axl was, "What have you been doing for the last six and a half years?" to which Axl replied:

Trying to figure out how to make a record.


As for what he's been up to:

I pretty much stay to myself, and that's about it. […] [Laughs] I just, you know, I pretty much work on this record and, and that's about it. It takes a lot of time. I'm not a computer-savvy or technical type of person, yet I'm involved with it everyday, so it takes me a while.

The reality is that I'm not clubbing because I don't find it's in my best interest to be out there. I am building something slowly, and it doesn't seem to be much out there as in here, in the studio and in my home. So many times, I have come down here and I had no idea that I was going to be able to. If you are working with issues that depressed the crap out of you, how do you know you can express it? At the time, you are just like, 'Life sucks.' Then you come down and you express 'Life Sucks,' but in this really beautiful way.
Rolling Stone, January 2000; interview from November 1999


He would also mention having a studio at home:

Yeah, I have a full studio, and that causes me great pain and pleasure. [The pain being] basically my inadequacy with modern machinery.


Goldstein would comment upon Axl's decision to stay out of the public eye:

[Axl's] world is very insular. He doesn't like very many people.


In November 2000, Axl would turn up at a benefit show put on by System of a Down to raise money for Armenian Genocide recognition [Radio Undercover, November 10, 2000].


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:44 pm

1999-2000
GARY SUNSHINE, BILLY HOWERDEL, ROB HOLLIDAY, AND SEAN PADEN


In the period 1999-2000 quite a few musicians were loosely involved with the band in various capacities.


GARY SUNSHINE


In early 2000, Rolling Stone would indicate that Axl had also been working with his guitar teacher, Gary Sunshine [Rolling Stone, January 2000]. Sunshine got in contact with Guns N' Roses and Axl in likely 1999

I knew a guitar tech who was working with GNR and he asked me if I'd be interested, he recommended me to Axl. around 1999 I'm guessing.
Personnel communication, September 25, 2020


Sunshine would receive song credits for co-writing 'Oh My God' but also be involved in adding guitar parts to a second, unreleased, song:

I played on a couple of songs, one was on the End of Days soundtrack and did some guitar for another unfinished tune not sure what it was. There weren’t vocals on it. [...] I played on some tunes that Robin Finck played on. Dave Navarro also was on the song from the soundtrack. It was a cool time I miss those days
Personnel communication, September 24, 2020


On playing with Axl at his Malibu house:

I worked with Axl up at his house too. He was working on some guitar, brushing up on it and we bounced ideas around, talked for half a year or so.
Personnel communication, September 24, 2020

He was just writing for the record and wanted to brush up on playing I think, he has a great musical ear and sense. was a great time.
Personnel communication, September 25, 2020

I didn’t write with Axl I just did a little recording and a bunch of one on one “lessons”. The lessons were more jamming on songs, talking and working on things.
Personnel communication, September 26, 2020


Like other people who got to work with Axl in this period, Sunshine has nothing but positive things to say about Axl:

I don’t talk much about that time out of respect for Axl and his privacy. He was great to work with, a very good and creative guy.
Personnel communication, September 24, 2020


Sunshine would also audition to become the band's new guitarist, but lose out to Richard:

I was asked to audition and did back then. It was cool, stressful, but I loved it. Richard Fortus was better suited for the band, he’s really good.
Personnel communication, September 24, 2020



BILLY HOWERDEL


Billy Howerdel was a computer engineer/guitar tech that worked with the band but was out by May 2000 [Rolling Stone, May 11, 2000].

I didn't plan on being there that long. You know there's goods and bads. I mean, Maynard [James Keenan] and I were going to do this [A Perfect Circle] a long, long, time ago, and when I started with them I said, 'I'm going to work three days a week,' and they said, 'four.' Well, they said, 'five,' I said, 'three,' they said, 'four,' we compromised. And then I just said, 'This is just going to be for a month or two,' and it wound up being two-and-a-half years. So you know, goods: I got to learn a lot of stuff. Bads: I could have stayed there forever, and I was there a little longer than I wanted to be. And I believed in it at the time, but there comes a time where you have to follow your dream, I guess.


The new band Howerdel would found was A Perfect Circle:

I saved up my money to start this band. I maxed out my credit cards, I quit my Guns N' Roses day job. If this band didn't work out, I was going to be flat broke.'

But fortunately, it did work out.
The Mercury News, June 4, 2004


Keenan would later indicate that Axl had been angry about Keenan taking Howerdel away from Guns N' Roses:

Axl, bless his heart, can't make a move. He thinks I'm the devil. I helped Billy Howerdel, who used to work with Axl and was very close to him, finally make it on his own. An Axl considers me the devil because of it. That makes no sense to me. But I'm sure there's a bunch of things about me that don't make sense to someone else
Guitar World, November 2003


Josh would later quit Guns N' Roses and join A Perfect Circle, too.


SEAN PADEN


Another guitar tech that was involved with the band in this period was Sean Paden who would be with the band from at least early 1995:

After those years I was tired and looking to go back to the shop and did for awhile until the day I got a call to go work for Axl Rose in the studio as “the” guitar tech for the new Guns-n-Roses. Here is where my career gets weird. I spent six years there working on a record that still isn’t done yet. The music is really cool and I liked it enough to stay for that long. To make a long story short - Zakk at one point in time was going to join G-n-R with Slash and Axl and that’s where I met Zakk.
proguitartechs.com, 2003


Six years would suggest he ended his tenure with GN'R in 2001, but there are other indication Paden moved from Los Angeles in 1999 [www.padenguitarservices.com, 2020].


ROB HOLLIDAY


Rob Holliday was the singer and guitar player from the band Sulphur and Curve:

[Rob Holliday]: Axl had been a fan of Curve and liked the Sulpher stuff he heard, so he invited me over to LA to lay a bunch of guitar parts down. He has had a whole load of guitarists involved from Dave Navarro to Brian May, so I don't know if any of my parts have survived. [...]Axl was really cool, genuinely a nice guy, very focused on what he wants.
Metal Hammer, December 2001


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